Florida State raised eyebrows last fall when it earned verbal commitments from two players ranked in the top 50 of their respective class on the same day. Neither is as highly regarded as the prospect who pledged to the Seminoles on Monday. Five-star small forward Jonathan Isaac announced his college decision on Twitter, saying he has “closed” his recruitment.
Isaac is considered one of the fastest-rising prospects in the class of 2016. Last September he held scholarship offers from only three programs (Arkansas State, UCF and Mississippi State). A strong spring with Florida-based Each 1 Teach 1 on the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League circuit has elevated him from intriguing talent to consensus five-star recruit.
It also helped that Isaac has grown at least three inches since last summer but managed to remain a proficient ball handler and shooter. Though at 6’10,’’ 185 pounds, with a reported 7’0’’ wingspan, he’s as tall as many college big men, Isaac told Scout.com’s Evan Daniels earlier this month that he wants “to make everything about me a guard. I don’t want to play the four—that’s just [me] being honest.”
If he continues to pursue that goal, Isaac could pose serious matchup issues. Few defenders can hope to counter a player with legitimate stretch-four size and guard skills. The Bronx, N.Y., native is renowned for his ability to create off the dribble and rise up over smaller wings to knock down jump shots, and his length and athleticism could make him a versatile defender.
Over 14 games in the EYBL this year, Isaac has averaged 14.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 48.6 percent from the field.
Isaac’s decision came less than a week after he narrowed his list of schools to 12: Auburn, LSU, Texas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida State, Cal, Miami, Kentucky, Stanford, Wake Forest and Virginia. The Seminoles began recruiting Isaac earlier than many programs, however, and on Monday he told the Tallahassee Democrat, "I just felt that in my heart, Florida State was the place to go.”
Isaac joins four-star shooting guard Trent Forrest and three-star point guard C.J. Walker as the third player in the class of 2016 to commit to the Seminoles. That group will join Florida State’s 2015 haul, headlined by Bacon and Beasley, to give the Seminoles a solid nucleus of talent to compete against ACC heavyweights Duke, Syracuse, North Carolina and Virginia.
Still, Isaac is in a class of his own. According to Rivals.com, no prospect since Michael Snaer (7) in 2009 has joined the Seminoles carrying a higher ranking than Isaac. The good news for Florida State is that coach Leonard Hamilton is having success on the recruiting trail even though the program has produced middling results on the court in recent years.