Blue-chip safety prospect Isheem Young carries nearly 30 scholarship offers as his junior year of high school approaches its conclusion. The Philadelphia defensive back and Penn State target intends to trim those options down to five universities next month, setting the stage for a possible midsummer pledge.
Young, a 5-foot-10, 201-pound talent from Imhotep Institute Charter High School, told Land of 10 on Sunday he is targeting early July for a verbal college commitment. Considered the No. 12 overall safety in 247Sports’ 2018 composite rankings, Young admits an internal tug-of-war continues to develop.
Though he hopes to settle plans for the next phase of his football and academic career this summer, there’s also a thought process that leans toward the use of multiple official visits this fall. If Young doesn’t announce collegiate plans in July, don’t expect any decision until after his senior season.
“Once I commit, I want to be 100 percent committed,” he said. “I don’t want to de-commit and jump from school to school.”
This goal creates the need for an active June on the recruiting trail.
“I have to make sure the school I pick is my school for good, so it’s time to take some visits,” Young said.
He shared Alabama, Clemson, Maryland, Ohio State and West Virginia are in line to welcome him to campus in the coming months. The Buckeyes stick out on this list due to ongoing communication between Young and the Ohio State coaches, despite the fact Young has never been to Columbus.
“It’s a trip I definitely need to take because they’ve been recruiting me very hard,” he said. “I want to see how they coach up their defensive backs.”
The Ohio State secondary produced three first-round picks in the 2017 NFL Draft — Gareon Conley, Malik Hooker and Marshon Lattimore.
Even before Young spends time with the Buckeyes staff, he views the program as a top contender in this recruitment.
Young, fourth-ranked prospect in Pennsylvania, won’t make things easy for the Nittany Lions coaching staff. Penn State faces serious competition from conference rival Ohio State, a program he said will “definitely” land on his upcoming top-5 list.
Young intends to reveal that collection of five favorites in June. He gave Land of 10 a glimpse, naming Clemson as another school whose spot is likely secure.
Young only mentioned Clemson and Ohio State as safe bets to land in his top five but it would be a surprise if Penn State isn’t part of the picture. Coach James Franklin welcomed him to Happy Valley on April 22 for the Nittany Lions spring game.
Penn State DE Shareef Miller — defensive MVP of the spring game — shares a strong bond with Young. The fellow Philly product has become a key resource during this process, particularly when it comes to previewing life in Happy Valley.
“We talk almost every day,” Young told Land of 10 in April. “He always tells me [Penn State] is a place where you grow, on and off the field. He definitely wants me to come up there and ball out with him.”
Young said there is a possibility he may return to State College this summer but priority is clearly placed on first-time visits.
The Nittany Lions can seemingly cross one powerhouse program off the list of possible competitors in this pursuit. Despite the presence of former Imhotep teammate and friend Naseir Upshur on Florida State’s roster, rapport between the Seminoles and Young has eroded.
“They were one of my top schools but they stopped hitting me up,” he said.
Among the most physical defensive backs in the 2018 recruiting cycle, Young continued to display his abilities Sunday while in attendance at St. Joseph Regional High (Montvale, N.J.) for the Under Armour All-America camp series.
— Tyler Donohue (@TDsTake) May 21, 2017
It was his second showcase event in less than a month, dating back to an impressive April 30 performance at The Opening’s New Jersey regional. He competed against 4-star Nittany Lions receiver commit Justin Shorter at both camps.
“It would be great to go up against him every single day in practice,” Shorter said. “My dad always says ‘iron sharpens iron’ and I believe that would be the case for both of us as we develop at Penn State.”
Potential Penn State teammates working against each other here?
— Tyler Donohue (@TDsTake) April 30, 2017
Young previously spent time with Shorter, along with other pledges, at the Penn State spring game.
“Getting to spend that personal time with them during that day was something I enjoyed very much,” he said one week later. “I love it up there. They’ve been great experiences. The coaches are very cool, and they’re actually like your friends. You can joke around with them, and it’s just a very comfortable place.”
Franklin and his staff made a positive impression on Young during the recent visit, but must now wait things out as he explores alternative options. The Nittany Lions will vie for one of the five spots on Young’s list of finalists next month, and could quickly learn the outcome of recruiting efforts if he follows through with a July commitment.