December 22, 2010

New Jersey star DE looking at Spartans

One of the most impressive prospects in the state of New Jersey for the class of 2011 is defensive end Max Issaka of Woodbridge High School. SpartanMag.com caught up with the 6-foot-3, 240-pound prospect and got the details on his recruitment.

This past spring SpartanMag.com attended the NIKE Camp that was held at Penn State University. One of the top performers at that event was Issaka. On that day he easily showed that he has the skills to be a high-level college recruit.

Issaka picked up a host of scholarship offers during the spring including one from Michigan State University. The Spartan staff was hoping to have Issaka on campus in the summer in order for him to learn more about the program. However, Issaka pulled the trigger and committed to the Pitt Panthers before that occurred.

Fast forward six months and the landscape at Pittsburgh has changed dramatically. Not only did Pitt "fire' head Coach Dave Wannstedt, but multiple former verbal commitments have re-opened their recruitments and several are headed to BCS programs with more stable environments. Just yesterday 4-star standout Kyshoen Jarrett committed to Virginia Tech.

Michigan State is looking to address a few key positions with the remaining scholarships it has for the class of 2011. Defensive end is one of the positions that the staff would like to add another player or two. SpartanMag.com asked Issaka if he has heard from any other school including Michigan State?

"Yes, several schools have been in contact," Issaka stated. "Michigan, Michigan state, Central Florida are and Maryland are just a few."

Issaka went on to talk about his status:

"I still consider myself a commitment to Pittsburgh," he said. "I want to give them every chance and get to know new Head Coach Mike Heywood better. But I am also keeping my options open and seeing what else is out there for me. No matter what, I want to make sure I end up at a school that has a good atmosphere and is a place where I can get a good education. I also want to make sure I am comfortable with all the coaches."

Issaka indicated that Michigan State has extended him an opportunity to visit East Lansing. Visiting the Big Ten Champions in January is a distinct possibility. The Spartans will be hosting some impressive recruits on campus during that month including several players who at one time were verbally committed to Pitt.

Issaka talked about what his plans are as far as making a decision.

"I want to make sure I talk my time and see what all the schools I am looking at have to offer. Lots of schools wanted me to visit before I committed to Pitt last summer, but I never got a chance to see them. I am going to make sure I see everything I want before I make my final choice. I definitely want to get to know Coach Heywood better too."

Based on Issaka's comments it is obvious he plans on doing two things. The first is that he will make sure he gives Coach Heywood an opportunity to re-secure his commitment to the panthers. However, at the same time he also wants to see what other options are available to him. Many of the schools that are recruiting him have very successful program with stable coaching staffs.

SpartanMag.com will be sure to keep in conatc with Issaka in the coming weeks. With so many former Pitt commitments exploring options, things could get very intersting betweeen now and signing day.

SpartanMag.com's take:

Last year Michigan State signed a tremendous defensive end class led by players like 5-Star William Gholston and Marcus Rush. That fact has intimidated some prospects. Issaka does not seem like the type that is concerned with who a team has, in fact he seems like the type of player who wants to play with and against the highest-level players he can.


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