With four recruits committing to Penn State over the weekend, NittanyNation decided to turn to the people who know best what they’re capable of on the field -- their high school coaches.
NittanyNation polled those coaches about what separates each player, how they first noticed the player’s ability and when the player especially showcased his college potential. A different commit was highlighted in each of the last four days.
Up today: Zayd Issah, Harrisburg (Pa.) Central Dauphin
6-foot-3, 210 pounds
Three-star ATH, No. 118 athlete nationally (projected at LB)
High school coach (quoted below): Defensive coordinator Sean Rosler
What separates him from others at his position: "Well, first off, it's his second year [at linebacker] now so he's become a little better with all the reads and that kind of stuff. Last year was the first year he played linebacker, and this year he became that much quicker. He's a relentless pursuer, he's great to the point of attack and has great range. He's a long kid, and he's a problem to block -- whether or not it's a back, it really doesn't matter.
He stands out due to his speed, size, length and agility. He's very versatile. There's really nothing I could say bad because he's perfect.
When you first knew he would be something special: "We had his older brother, and his older brother was a senior and he was a freshman or a sophomore. And he was brought up to play offense only, and it was during a practice and he got crushed. His brother crushed him. He hurt his arm a little bit and everything and we were like, 'Hey, take a play off because you're beaten up.' And he said, 'Hell no, I'm in.' And from that point on, most kids could've easily said yes -- it wasn't a separated shoulder or anything but he got killed and he was hurting good -- but he stayed in and ended up scoring the next play.
"That's when I said he's going to be a good kid. I knew there was something special about him when he had every right to go out. He ran our scout-team tailback like all practice and then at the end of practice, he gets murdered and he's hurt and he said, 'No, I'm not missing a play.' And I said this kid is a little different; he's special."
When he surprised you or really showcased his ability: "This year, there was a play vs. Harrisburg, the first time we played them where we beat them in overtime. He was rightside linebacker, and they ran a misdirection where he came up -- I don't know if we had him blitz -- but then he's upfield making contact with the kid and it's going on the other side of the field. He weaved in and out, checked his cutback and weaved more across the field and made the tackle on the opposite numbers. Against Harrisburg.
"Maybe it doesn't sound like a big deal. But how that play started and then how it ended, that's amazing. And he was hurt, too. The fact he was hurt and did what he did, he wanted to win that game badly. It may not seem like anything but, from a coaching standpoint, it was perfect. It was beautiful."