- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
Zayd Issah (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) played outside linebacker for the first time as a junior this past season. He now is sitting at six offers.
Nearby Penn State was the last to offer Issah, who also has offers from Maryland, Rutgers, Temple, UConn and Virginia. Issah checked out Penn State and new coach Bill O’Brien at its junior day in February.
“I liked him a lot, liked the way he was talking,” Issah said. “He was talking about how they’re going to keep what’s good at Penn State -- the tough defense, the same values and all that – but also turn the whole program into the 21st century. Everyone I talked to seems excited about it. There was no negative feeling with all the stuff going on with the whole scandal.”
Issah visited Penn State one time for the Alabama game. That game was in September when Joe Paterno was still the Nittany Lions’ coach. He doesn’t expect the gameday atmosphere to change much.
“That was real fun,” Issah said. “I’m trying to work something out where I can go on the field before the game and see how it looks from a player’s perspective. Beaver Stadium definitely stood out.”
Issah also made it to Maryland for its junior day, too, attending the Terrapins basketball game against North Carolina. The coaching staff’s plan and interest in Issah is what impressed him most.
“They talked to me about if I commit to Maryland I can be a difference maker not just be another guy on the team,” he said. “Out of the schools [that offered], I’m probably more at the top of their list than anyone else.”
Issah is hoping to make visits to Temple, UConn and Virginia soon.
Are the in-state Nittany Lions, or someone else, his favorite right now?
“I don’t have anybody, and I’m from Portland, Oregon, so I’ve always been a Ducks fan,” Issah said. “I don’t think any school would make me commit right away.”