- Brandon P. Oliver, Reporter, DuckNation
After decommitting from Penn State last month, Zayd Issah (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) has seen his recruiting pick up significantly.
After everything changed in Happy Valley, Issah decided that he was going to put recruiting on the back burner as he tries to lead his team to back-to-back state titles.
"The reason I decommitted wasn't so much about everything that happened and the sanctions. It was more about how different it was -- if that makes any sense," Issah said. "It's not the Penn State I committed to."
In early August, Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti called and offered the three-star athlete, who was born in Portland, Ore.
"I had been in touch with them but didn't think an offer was coming," Issah said. "I was out there this summer and made an unofficial out of it. I really like everything about it and the area is familiar to me."
Arizona State and Alabama called too. And while Penn State is not out of it completely, Issah thinks he might be better suited by going in a whole new direction.
"Penn State is still right there for me but I have some other options I want to explore over the next few months," Issah said. "I have always loved Penn State but I feel like I need to look around to see if somewhere else turns out to be a better fit."
For now the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder plans to refine his skills as an all-around football player in his senior season. His skill set is something that college coaches like about the No. 24 player in Pennsylvania.
"I play defensive end with a hand down sometimes. Other times I play safety in nickel and cover-two packages. On offense I play running back and wide receiver," Issah said. "I'll play wherever my team needs me. I just want to win."
His versatility is one of the main reasons roughly 20 college coaching staffs are hot on his trail. No one more so than Oregon, who seeks out athletes like Issah and decides where to play them once they arrive on campus.
"That's what Oregon likes about me the most. That's what they do and they do it well," said Issah, who has family in both Eugene and Portland. "They just want to get me on campus and then decide how to use me. The best players play at Oregon, regardless of age or even position. If you're good enough, you'll be on the field."
Issah knows of two official visits he'll definitely take and has hopes of hearing from two of the nation's top programs.
Issah has ties to both Oregon and Arizona State, as he has an uncle that lives on the edge of Oregon's campus and Arizona State coach Todd Graham was recruiting Issah while he was at Pittsburgh in 2011.
"I'm going to take official visits to Oregon and Arizona State for sure, but probably not until after my season is over. I'm really just trying to win another state title and then I'll focus on my future," Issah said.
The call from Alabama's recruiting coordinator piqued Issah's interest and he hopes to make a visit to Tuscaloosa later this fall.
Issah's good friend, Noah Spence, signed with Ohio State last winter and has told Issah nothing but great things about Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes program.
"I'd love to hear from them as well. Right now I know Oregon and Arizona State will get a visit and if Ohio State wants me to visit there I'll do that for sure," Issah said. "I'll have to wait and see what happens with this Alabama thing too because they would get a visit for sure if they offered me."