A long and windy road along the recruiting trail ended on Sunday for two parties when Class of 2018 offensive lineman Jacob Isaia committed to Michigan State. Not only are the Spartans picking up one of the more highly recruited linemen in the nation, but they also secured a MSU Hall of Fame legacy.
The path forward for Isaia becoming a three-star recruit with 25 scholarship offers was not an easy one.
Starting off at Iolani High School in Honolulu during his sophomore year, Isaia was an overachieving 6-3, 235 pound, starting left tackle frustrating ends, defensive tackles, and linebackers alike with his raw power and quickness. A move from Honolulu to Las Vegas landed him at powerhouse Bishop Gorman. Unsure of what to expect, Isaia grew by leaps and bounds in more ways than way earning a starting job with the national power at right tackle. His dedication to the game showed on game tape but also in the weight room where he worked to add 30-plus pounds in the offseason.
The change in venue further enhanced Isaia’s recruiting stock. Aided by the Gaels 15-0 record in 2016 earning MaxPrep’s high school national championship honors, college coaches could no longer question if Isaia was capable of playing at the highest level in the high school ranks – he was helping define what it means to be the best of the best. The offseason saw a flurry of recruiting activity for Isaia growing his offer sheet to include Michigan State, Washington State, Ole Miss, San Diego State, UCLA, Kansas State, Indiana, BYU, Virginia, UNLV, Minnesota, Georgia Tech, Hawaii, Syracuse, Arizona, Iowa State, Connecticut, Boise State, Utah, and Vanderbilt, just to name a few, by the time of his commitment.
The Gaels are once again one of the top teams in the nation with Isaia helping anchor the offensive line now at left tackle. A buzz saw out of state schedule that included DeMatha (MD), Mater Dei (CA), Miami Central (FL), and De La Salle (CA) contributed to an uncharacteristic 2-2 start but consecutive wins over De La Salle, Bonanza (NV), and Spring Valley (NV) have Bishop Gorman back on track and ranked No. 5 in the nation.
After Bishop Gorman upended Spring Valley 63-0, Isaia took an official visit to East Lansing to learn more about the Spartans program and to see his grandfather, Bob Apisa, get inducted into the Spartans Football Hall of Fame. What ended up happening was a surprise to all, even for Isaia, a win-win for all involved.
In a Recruiting News Guru stylized interview, I sat down with Isaia covering his official visit to Michigan State and how he committed to the Spartans.
Jacob, congratulations on your commitment to Michigan State. I know the Spartans were one of the first teams to offer you. How did they recruit you throughout the process?
“They weren’t really pressuring me at all to visit or to commit early. They kept their distance but kept in touch. They convinced me they wanted me as the person that I am, not because of my grandpa. They were recruiting me to help the team out on the offensive line.”
You took an official visit to East Lansing on Sept. 30. The trip obviously went well, what all did you do during your visit?
“We got to see a lot of the facilities that the players use during their time at Michigan State. I got to go to the freshman dorms and the off-campus dorms for the upperclassmen. It was nice and cool to see how the players interact with one another away from the field.”
Did you come up with a Top 5 list of schools you were most interested in during the recruiting process?
“Yeah, I did. At the time, when I was visiting they were not high on my list. My grandpa was being inducted into the Hall of Fame, I was there to support him. I went to enjoy the visit, and then I committed (laughs).”
What was the tipping point for you that led you to end the recruiting process and announce your commitment?
“I had a lot of different viewpoints on the recruiting process during the journey. I had a lot of people telling me to commit in the spring and then in the summer. I wanted to visit a lot of places before I committed. The reason I committed, I felt like it needed to end. I did not want to wait too long. The recruiting process was getting tiring. It was hard to keep up with everything. The time was right.”
How did you notify the Spartans staff you were committing?
“I talked to Coach (Mark) Dantonio (head coach) on my last day there (Sunday).”
What was Coach Dantonio’s reaction to your commitment?
“He was a little surprised. I don’t think they expected me to commit on the visit. I was hoping to commit by this weekend. I wanted to commit after thinking about if for a long time. I knew it was time to commit and end it. I surprised everyone. I feel like I made a great decision.”
Ryan Wrighta.k.a. the Recruiting Guru, has been working in mass media and news markets since the mid 1990’s. Ryan has worked as a sports writer and journalist with articles featured on Scout.com, The Bleacher Report, Sports-at-Work, LA Times online edition, and was the editor for Razorbackers.com in association with Sports Illustrated and FanSided Network. RecruitingNewsGuru.com for more interviews and in-depth analysis on college recruits from across the country.