After having a wild weekend in Purdue football without us even playing a game (lookin at you, Bade), it's time to get back into the flow of the countdown and continue with a guy who is a tremendous back up, and could be an even bigger asset to our defensive line.
Ryan Isaac - Jr.
Hometown: Michigan City, IN (Michigan City HS)
6'5" 266 pounds
2012 Projection: Reserve at defensive tackle/end
Isaac came to Purdue with a lot of people believing he would redshirt. That quickly changed after Isaac showed the Boilernation how great of a motor he has and how hard he is willing to work. During his freshmen year, Isaac recorded 7 total tackles, included his first collegiate sack which came against No. 7 Wisconsin. He did all of this while only playing in 5 games as a backup, mind you.
Last season, Isaac came back with his hard hat and lunch pail and went right back to work with his limitd playing time; recording 9 total tackles, and deflecting a pass. Now, combine his stats from these past two seasons and they still aren't anything to get super excited about. But consider the depth we have at the defensive line position, and to do what he did in limited playing time is actually rather impressive.
This year could be the season where Ryan Isaac breaks out, especially if he gets played as a defensive end in the 3-4 scheme, which we will be using more of. Isaac is big and quick, which is a perfect fit for a 3-4 end. Consider this possible lineup: Kawann Short, Bruce Gaston, and Isaac are the down linemen while Ryan Russell, Robert Maci, and whoever else Coach Danny Hope deems get to play a pass rushing outside linebacker. Combine them with a rotation of our current linebackers and we have a solid front 7 with plenty of options at both linebacker and defensive linemen. I am a huge fan of the 3-4 scheme and really think this is going to elevate our defense to a whole new level and take us down to Sack City.
Ryan Isaac is a hard worker and a play maker. Even if he doesn't end up in the 3-4 or our 4-3 scheme and has to continue his role as a reserve with little time on the field I still see this guy making plays. If he keeps up his work ethic it's going to pay off for him.
Ryan Isaac is active on Twitter. So give him a follow on his unique handle: @im_him61