August 15, 2010

DE Issaka explains his decision

Woodbridge, N.J. defensive end Max Issaka committed to Pittsburgh on Friday but has stayed relatively quiet about things.

On Sunday he spoke to Rivals.com and explained his decision.

"I just felt like Pitt is overall a great place," Issaka said on Sunday morning. "The coaching staff is great, too, but ultimately my decision came down to me just wanting to move on past New Jersey.

"I'm going to be a Jersey boy for life. I've been here all my life, but I just wanted to get out and see the world. The world is a big place and the way you get to see it is by a step by step movement, going out away from home. I didn't want to stay in New Jersey for four years and not experience anything different.

"Pittsburgh seemed like the best place to do it. It's not too far from home but it's different. My dad wanted me to get out and get some independence and it's what I wanted."

The reason Issaka has played things close to the vest lately is because a lot of people around him have been giving him their input, and it has been a lot of pressure on him.

"Everybody else was like, 'You've gotta go to Rutgers. Do this for Rutgers.' I just wanted to do what I want to do.

"I haven't really talked [since the commitment] because I was getting a lot of calls from people that were basically harassing me and telling me what I should have done."

The 6-foot-3, 240-pound defensive end thinks he will be a great fit in Pitt's defense. He was the third defensive end to commit to the Panthers and will help bolster that position for years to come.

"I've got a little disadvantage with my height but my speed makes up for that," he said. "Pitt has a great coaching staff and I think I'll fit in great with them. They said they really didn't care about my height. My speed will fit into their defense great. They want me with my hand on the ground coming off the edge, full blast ahead. They feel I can't be stopped or touched.

"They have a big rotation in every game. They use about eight ends each game so you're going to get your playing time."

Issaka, a three-star prospect, is ranked the No. 24 defensive end in the nation by Rivals.com.

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