This is the third in our "Impact Player" series, taking a closer look at some of the state's top returning players as we draw closer to the MIAA football season. To see all of our Impact Players, CLICK HERE.
The often-overlooked talent in the Central Mass. region has seen an unusually high amount of activity this offseason, with Leominster's Jarell Addo (UMass) and Leicester's Tom Rodrick (UConn) making Division 1 FBS commitments in recent weeks. But nobody in Worcester County has seen as much hype the last nine months quite like Doherty High athlete Isaac Yiadom, who became the first of seven (to-date) in-state pledges of Boston College coach Steve Addazio's historic 2014 recruiting class with a commitment in late March.
The Highlanders are coming off a very successful 2012 campaign, and will be a favorite in the newly-aligned Division 4 Central. Yiadom is expected to take the leadership reigns after an impressive junior campaign, totaling 1,136 all-purpose yards on a limited amount of touches. The way everything has been aligning since last November's playoff exit, are we in for a bigger 2013 season for Yiadom?
Player: Isaac Yiadom
Hometown: Worcester, Mass.
Position: Wide receiver/safety/kick returner
Listed Height/Weight: 6-foot-1, 170 pounds
Scouts Inc. Rank: 4 - Mass.; 125 - Region; 126 - Position
College: Boston College
Key 2012 Stat: Operating primarily as a wide receiver, which included taking handoffs from the slot, Yiadom racked up 974 yards of offense and 13 touchdowns on just 48 touches.
Workout Stat: 37-inch vertical leap.
Opposing Coach: "Isaac has a huge upside with his athletic ability and speed. Doherty has had so much talent in the past few years, so he has not had a lot of touches. Again this year, they have so many weapons that teams won't be able to double him or sit in bracket coverage. In the past few years, I thought a lot of Central Mass. kids have been snubbed, so I hope Isaac and some of the other kids like [Jarell] Addo and [Tom] Rodrick make the most of their D1A offers and open the door for Central Mass. in the future."
Scouts Inc.: "Tall and lanky with an underdeveloped frame. Very lean, lacks bulk and strength. Wiry, but flexible. Speed is average for the position. He has great feet and a smooth stride which can give the appearance that he is faster than he is. ... Runs tall and must be aware of pad level. Can be high into and out of breaks -- must sink, stab and speed cut to eliminate wasted motion. Feet can be choppy at the top of the stem, but he does show good acceleration and the ability to get over coverage at this level. Must avoid contact into the break point. Has upside here due to his feet and body control. ... Catches the ball well and generally away from his frame. Will at times cradle and allow the ball into his body when he should extend and high point. Has shown flashes of making spectacular grabs in jump ball situations. ... Yiadom is a good athlete that stands out against this competition, but may find it more difficult to make plays at the next level. We like his measurables, but he needs significant weight room time. Catches the ball well and is a reliable performer. May be more of a possession guy at the next level."
Bottom Line: As Doherty's highest-profile recruit since Yawin Smallwood or Keith Gray, there is plenty of upside with the long and lanky Yiadom. The Highlanders are loaded at the skill positions, and while Yiadom figures to be the top target for quarterback Luke Brennan (1,835 yards, 22 TD), teams must be wary of double-covering him; 6-foot-4 split end Alfred Adarkwah will likely line up opposite Yiadom, and will draw enough attention with his large catching radius. Defensively, Yiadom should keep things clean in the secondary, and his special leaping ability can win him a lot of 50/50 situations. The Highlanders will be breaking in a lot of new starters on defense, so they're going to need another big season from him after a terrific 2012 (60 tackles, 6 interceptions).