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I-Team: Ishaq Williams Rules Out Miami, Penn State Sounds Like Favorite

Plus, a rip job of the All-American Bowl’s tedious and awkward commitments.

(Update: 2:27p The latest buzz is not good for the Orange. Rumors today suggest as long as Penn State assistant Larry Johnson stays, Ishaq will choose Happy Valley. Johnson has been his recruiting coordinator with the Nittany Lions and would be Williams’ position coach as well. If PSU defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, as expected, is named the head coach at Pitt, then SU fans need to pray Johnson goes with him. Unfortunately, it likely benefits Johnson to stay at Penn State – he’s expected to be named the new DC. So unless Johnson’s allegiances are to Bradley and not Joe Pa, it’s probable Ishaq follows LJ to Penn State.)

Posted: Craig Hoffman

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Ishaq Williams sounds like he has officially eliminated Miami from his list of choices. In an interview with ESPN, Ishaq explained his delay in making a decision. “I wasn’t ready to commit right now. I wasn’t comfortable with it so I decided I’m going to wait a couple of days.”

The report went on to say,“The senior said he is choosing among Syracuse, Penn State and Notre Dame.” His high school coach, Shawn O’Connor, has become the mouthpiece for Team Ishaq and reiterated Miami is done. “He’s not changing his three schools.”

Ishaq looked good, not great, in the All-American Bowl yesterday. He had two solo tackles, including one for a loss. Officials said he left with a bruised thigh, although that detail was conspicuously ignored in ESPN’s conversation with Ishaq. More than likely it was a smokescreen to buffer him from media access following the game and the flurry of questions about his decision.

While it seems Ishaq has held off on his announcement because he simply doesn’t know yet, the forum may also have been a factor. O’Connor said, “He doesn’t like all the attention that he’s getting. He doesn’t get caught up in making a decision in front of a national audience. He just needs more time to make a decision. He’s definitely not going to make his decision (at the) game.”

The weaving of high school athletes making their decisions in the middle of the game was indeed awkward and tedious yesterday. Players were in uniform, took a break from the action and then picked from three hats on a table, all while standing in front of assorted family members and random groups of enlisted army members in fatigues. NBC, with its rotating band of merrymen, then attempted (usually unsuccessfully) to briefly interview the athlete about his decision.

As is par for the course in putting a nationally televised microphone in front of 18-year-olds, most uncomfortably mumbled something generic and monosyllabic. And then there was the kid who chose Clemson and decided to thank all 18 family members by name, give props to all three schools and drag out his 20 seconds into 20 minutes while the NBC truck nearly melted down. Hey, NBC – you asked for it.

The gratuitous army squads in camos in the back of each announcement was ridiculous. No one in the shot (kid, family, militia) could quite understand why they were all sitting next to one another. NBC should have recorded the decisions before the game, edited them if needed, and played them during breaks in the action. Then again, what else to expect from the “used car salesman” world of prep athletics on the big stage?

I don’t blame Ishaq at all for delaying his decision. I wouldn’t want to be value meal #5 at the fast food window of college commitments either.

Posted: D.A.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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