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I-Team: Pitt Ignores Tom Bradley Equals Ishaq To Penn State?

The commitment will likely wait until Larry Johnson either follows or stays.

(Update: 9:03p Reports out of Pittsburgh have Tulsa’s Todd Grahamas the next head coach of the Panthers. If true, cross your fingers Tom Bradley will be hired by UConn. If Bradley remains at Penn State, one would assume Ishaq Williams would commit to the Nittany Lions.)

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From the Department of Blind Optimism: The picture attached is a photoshopped image of what Ishaq might look like in a Syracuse uniform courtesy of a Fizz Reader.

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It appears there’s a standoff in Ishaq Williams’ decision until Pitt or UConn makes their head coaching hire. Both schools are reported to be interested in PSU defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, which could lead to a domino effect in Ishaq’s recruiter with the Nittany Lions either following Bradley or being promoted at PSU. It means Penn State leads the sweepstakes, not Syracuse or Notre Dame. Miami has been eliminated.

If you’re like Team Fizz and using TweetDeck to follow the Ishaq saga, you already realize targeting #Ishaq has led to some great leads and, on Saturday, enormous news about a Pakistani Official who wants to curtail the cabinet size in that country. Fascinating.

As a suggestion, add two more search columns. “Tom Bradley” and “Larry Johnson.” Bradley is the hot coaching candidate and Johnson has led the Ishaq sales job at PSU. Will Johnson follow Bradley wherever he lands?

This question became a lot more interesting yesterday as the Hartford Courant is reporting that Bradley met in Dallas yesterday with UConn Athletic Director Jeff Hathaway. We’re pretty sure Miss Teen South Carolina had something to do with the geography of that meeting, but back to football.

If Bradley is being considered for two jobs, that means he’s twice as likely to leave Happy Valley. The feeling around Pennsylvania is that he’s still headed to Pitt, but where he goes, in terms of Ishaq, is probably irrelevant. It’s whether or not he takes Johnson with him.

That information, unlike news on Bradley, is much harder to find. Bradley is obviously not going to comment on which coaches he’d like to take publicly before he has a job, but all the rumors are is that he’d want to take Johnson with him as DC and recruiting coordinator. Johnson has been at Penn State for 15 years under Joe Pa and alongside both of his sons, Tony and Larry (yes NFL running back Larry Johnson… hide ya kids, hide ya wife).

It would obviously take something special for him to leave. Clearly money is always a factor and reports suggest Bradley would throw lots of cash at Johnson to bring him west across the state. However, there are also reports that Johnson could be named the DC at PSU and wouldn’t be going anywhere.

The more you read, the muddier the situation becomes, but one thing is crystal clear. The Big East Coaching Carousel could end up benefitting Syracuse far more than we ever imagined. Bradley going to UConn or Pitt and taking Johnson with him could be the catalyst that brings Ishaq to Syracuse, or if Johnson stays, it could be the final factor to send of Ishaq to Penn State.

Someone is going to have to make a decision soon. Ishaq still plans to enroll early and classes started today at PSU and begin next week at Syracuse and Notre Dame. National Signing Day is less than a month away and for Pitt, not having a head coach isn’t solid ground for recruits. This means resolution is coming, and we can only hope it happens soon.

TweetDecks everywhere can barely handle it anymore.

Posted: Craig Hoffman

16 Comments on this Post

  1. Game over. If Johnson is the heir to the DC spot at Penn st, why would he leave for the same role at Pitt or Uconn? I’m sure Penn State will be competitive with his future compensation.

  2. OrangeCrush22

    I know this all rumors/speculation, but if this article is true, Ishaq wants to be a Nittany Lion if Johnson stays, which leaves ‘Cuse and ND his second option??? I don’t like that one bit if im Marrone/Shafer. Yes, ‘Cuse needs to take top players regardless if their your 2nd or 3rd option, but that leaves a sour taste in my mouth as a coach and future teammate, even if Ishaq commits to ‘Cuse. And also, even if Johnson goes, Ishaq may consider ND over ‘Cuse.

    Like i said in a previous article, if a coach/recruiter has that much influence then he should follow Johnson or Bradley wherever they go. Ishaq has bought into their personality and coaching ability, so it shouldnt matter if they go to UCONN, Pitt or stay at PSU.

    Also, much props to the comment you posted above. “Johnson has been at Penn State for 15 years under Joe Pa and alongside both of his sons, Tony and Larry (yes NFL running back Larry Johnson… hide ya kids, hide ya wife).”

  3. Abongo Humphrey

    maybe he is also going to college to get a degree and the three schools he’s looking at all meet his academic criteria?

    some players actually do go to school for more than just football…

  4. You know, we would welcome him but if SU is his choice by default it’s lame. Means his heart is not in the Orange. Frankly I don’t care if comes or not at this point. We will continue to improve without him. He won’t start till he is a junior at PS but could start as a Frosh at the Cuse.

  5. OrangeCrush22

    Abango, unfortunately he is deciding on a coach before he makes his decision. So that tells me that his decision is not based on academics. If it was, i can guarantee you ND is in the lead over Penn St. He, like 9 out of 10 of Div. 1 Athletes, are going to a program that gives them the best chance of making it professionally. Academics are second unless your Andrew Luck or Myron Rolle.

    Take 4 star football player Quentin Gause for example, who chose Rutgers over ‘Cuse this past spring. Quentin was quoted by saying he was lookin to major in communication and thats why he committed to Rutgers over ‘Cuse??? Are you kidding me??? SUNY Oswego has a better communications dept. then Rutgers.

    Bottomline is Ishaq is going to Penn St.

  6. What Drama…. the Penn State thing is interesting. Coach Johnson is an outstanding recruiter and a great coach. His credentials qualify him to be a DC at any major university for sure. He would be first choice to replace Bradley at Penn State. The issue that I see that complicates things is that he is also qualified to be a head coach in the not too distant future and the JOE PA situation at State is so delicate as well as uncertain. I could see how Johnson might follow Bradley as his DC at increased pay… pave the way for his own rise to a head coach position. If Pitt was smart, they would hire Bradley, get Johnson in a package deal and…. could end up with Ishaq to boot. I really felt the kid was headed to the Cuse, but if this Penn St. thing is true, it can’t look good for Cuse or ND.k

  7. Whatever. May be a while before Cuse gets a big recruit like that. Figured he would start the wave because his parents went to Cuse. Honestly, the coaching staff should focus on developing 3-star talent for now. If they can do that successfully for a couple of years, then they may be able to attract top talent.

  8. Looks like Pitt is going to hire Graham from Tulsa. I would say that the Ishaq in Orange dream is all but dead.

  9. OrangeCrush22

    Tobias Harris Deja vu

  10. Not dead yet. Lots of talk on Bradley to UConn.

  11. OrangeCrush22

    Yeah but that won’t matter. I don’t see Larry Johnson leaving. If Bradley does go that opens up a job at DC, not to mention Joe Pa isn’t going to be around for long, so that could open a head coaching vacancy. UCONN cant match what Penn St. could offer coaches.

  12. OrangeCrush22

    I hate having a negative look on this, but it seems that if Ishaq wanted to be at ‘Cuse, he would have accepted by now. The longer this drags on the better for PS and ND

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