Former USC running back Ty Isaac announced Thursday that he will transfer to the University of Michigan.
Lindsey Thiry of Scout.com reported the news of Isaac's departure in mid-May, and Isaac confirmed that Michigan would be his destination on Twitter:
According to Thiry's report, Isaac, who grew up in Joilet, Illinois, said he was transferring because "I have family stuff with my mom and want to be closer to home." Michigan and Notre Dame both pursued him hard out of high school, but per Mike Helfgot of the Chicago Tribune, he was restricted from considering the Irish as a destination.
Isaac is a big get for the Wolverines, who finished No. 115 in the country with 3.28 yards per rushing attempt last season. Playing time was sparse in USC's loaded backfield, but Isaac had 293 yards on 44 touches (6.66 yards per touch) as a true freshman last year.
He saved his best for last, too, finishing with 89 total yards in the Las Vegas Bowl win over Fresno State.
Isaac is tall for a running back (6'3", 225 lbs) but runs with a Darren McFadden-type stride and was listed the No. 3 all-purpose back and No. 54 overall player on the 247Sports Composite in the 2013 class.
The No. 27 overall player and No. 5 running back in that class was Derrick Green, who rushed for 270 yards and two touchdowns on 80 carries as a true freshman at Michigan last year. Fellow true freshman De'Veon Smith, the No. 207 overall player in the 2013 class, also played a little bit and had 117 yards on 26 carries.
On paper, this gives Michigan a stacked backfield for the future. Isaac, Green and Smith were three of the best running backs from a class that was known for its running back depth, and they all saw the field (albeit sparingly) as true freshmen. That's the good news.
The bad news, as our friends over at The Solid Verbal remind us, is that Isaac does not address the Wolverines' actual biggest problem:
According to Football Study Hall, Michigan's offensive line finished No. 118 in the country and second-worst among power conference teams in adjusted line yards (run blocking) last season. The Wolverines lost their two best linemen, Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield, to the NFL from that team.
Who is going to block for this talented group of tailbacks?
That is a good question, but, at least in Isaac's case, it is likely a question for another day. Although he applied for an NCAA hardship waiver to be granted immediate eligibility, he is likely to have to sit out next season, per normal transfer policy.
As Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com reported Wednesday, Michigan's campus is 259 miles away from Isaac's home in Joilet, and the waiver stipulates that he would need to move within 100 miles of his home to play in 2014. He can still appeal further, but it is a long shot.
Still, for the future, this is a great get for UM.
Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT
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