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Penn State’s Adisa Isaac is about to fulfill promise he made to his mother [opinion]

Fame doesn’t motivate Adisa Isaac.

He’s had a higher purpose, first at Canarsie High School in New York City and then at Penn State the last five seasons.

He plays football for his mother and his three non-verbal siblings.

They are his why.

“That’s what I do it for,” Isaac said. “Without them, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing.”

Isaac solidified his position as a second-day NFL Draft pick Friday at Penn State’s Pro Day. He’s projected to be selected late in the second round or third round. If that happens, he would likely sign a rookie contract worth about $8 million.

He then would be in a position to move his mother and siblings out of New York because, as he told me during the 2022 season, “there was violence everywhere.”

“I really want to take her and my family somewhere else,” he said, “and give them something they didn’t have. I feel like it’s well deserved. That would make my life, just giving them back for everything they’ve done for me.”

Lisa Wiltshire-Isaac is grateful for everything her youngest son has done for her and her other three children. She has raised them as a single mother.

Kyle, Y’ashua and Tadj are developmentally disabled. They can’t talk, read or write. Kyle, the oldest, has cerebral palsy. Y’ashua and Tadj, the youngest, are on the autism spectrum, according to Lisa.

Adisa has helped his mother with their care since he was young, whether it was meeting Tadj at her bus stop, retrieving their shoes and clothes, feeding them or doing “any little thing that he could have done,” she said.

“Oh, no, I can’t imagine what I would do without him,” Lisa told me. “I don’t even want to think about it. He’s a part of the puzzle that can’t be replaced. He’s irreplaceable.”

Isaac will be difficult to replace at Penn State. He led the Nittany Lions in tackles for loss (16) and sacks (7.5) last season and was a team captain. He was voted to the All-Big Ten first team by a conference media panel and to the second team by the coaches.

Despite his numbers and his honors, he played in the shadow of fellow defensive end Chop Robinson and linebacker Abdul Carter. Not surprisingly, he was an outstanding leader.

“People don’t see it, but he’ll make sure the unit is all together,” Penn State defensive line coach Deion Barnes said last fall. “Checking on each guy and talking to guys through plays. His leadership has been the biggest help for me.”

Isaac is grounded beyond his years because of what he sacrificed while growing up. When NFL teams asked him about himself at the Scouting Combine earlier this month, he began with his family.

“They’re part of me,” he said. “I talked about what it was like growing up and all the stuff I had to go through that affected me. I told them how that molded me into the player and person I am and how I think.

“I had to mature really quickly. It really gave me that mentality from a young age of being selfless, being patient and being a team player.”

One of his high school coaches said that he never complained about his family responsibilities. He said Isaac and his mother, an elementary school teacher, “feel blessed and honored that these kids are in their lives.”

He means everything to her and his siblings.

“When they see him, they light up like a star in the sky,” she said. “They get really joyous.”

Adisa Isaac wasn’t an All-American player at Penn State, but he’s a very special young man who’s easy to root for. He’s six weeks away from fulfilling a promise he made to his mother and to himself.

“It’s going to mean the world,” he said about getting drafted. “I’ve had a lot of hard days. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs that set the course for where I am now. I’m extremely grateful for it all. I wouldn’t take away any of it. You can’t have a high without a low.”


Source: Berkshire mont

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