Isaiah World recognizes 'the right time' to commit to ASU
Committing sight unseen has been the norm, and hardly the exception for prospects in the 2021 class. The COVID-19 pandemic that has not allowed for in-person visits, let alone creating an uncertainty concern the football season, is an undeniable catalyst for this trend. Through the recruiting process with the Sun Devils, two-way San Diego Lincoln High School lineman Isaiah World realized that an offer from ASU is one that made sense to take fully advantage of sooner rather than later.
“With the future of our football season unforeseeable,” World said, “myself and my coaches just thought it was the right time to make this decision. We saw how much love the (ASU) staff was giving me, so we felt it was the right time. Most of their staff has a lot of NFL experience, and they always had a lot of coaches on the Zoom meetings with me. That experience really stood out to my mom and me. They have a lot of notable names I could look up (on the Internet) to see what they’ve done in their career.
“Coach Herm is really cool to talk to, and I can’t wait to meet him in-person. We’ve been in close communication, which is good. Coach Antonio Pierce can really connect with you because he has been to the place (NFL) that you are trying to get to. He always keeps it 100 and tells you what the real deal is.”
Five of ASU's commits are 6-5 or taller.— DevilsDigest.com (@DevilsDigest) June 29, 2020
Isaiah World 6-8
Isaiah Pipkin 6-7
Kamron Beachem 6-5
Caleb Banks 6-6
Garrett Gillette 6-5
The stated goal of adding significant length to this 2021 class has certainly been achieved.
Linemen standing 6-8 tall are a reality at the professional level, let alone in the college and high school ranks. And with the well-documented statements by Pierce and other ASU staff members over the desire to add length, a prospect such as World is a natural recruit to pursue. Those close to his recruitment indicated that once he arrives on Tempe, he will be looked at both sides of the ball, although that is one side of the line of scrimmage that World favors.
“They really like my length and athleticism for my size,” World commented. “Playing basketball helped me because players my size can’t move the way I move. The (ASU) coaches love the fact that I play basketball. I would love to play on defense because that’s more fun, and that’s where I can make more plays. That’s the more fun side of the ball.”
As a junior for Lincoln, World posted 70 tackles, four of them for a loss, along with two recoveries and one forced fumble.
Lincoln offensive coordinator and assistant head coach Jason Carter highlighted World’s high work ethic and perfectionism and said that he never rests on the laurels of his intimidating size when playing the game.
“His best football is ahead of him,” Carter remarked. “He’s young and extremely raw, has played just one year of high school football, but man, his upside is huge. With the coaches that they (ASU) have, they’re going to have the opportunity to make sure he’s going to be one hell of a player. He’s only 16-years-old and just to see the growth from the beginning of the (junior) season to the end of the season was huge. I think his foot speed has gotten a lot better. He’s really taken playing the offensive line position and started working with a specialist on that.
“He’s taking steps to be better. I think it’s so important to improve on the fundamentals constantly. Footwork, hand placement, driving your feet….For young kids, it’s so important that you take the steps on your own. It’s easy to take them when someone is pushing you to do it. When you take the initiative to do it on your own, it just says a lot about you. When you understand what your strengths and weaknesses are and what you need to get better at.”
As someone who played at the NFL level himself, Carter stated that he didn’t want to frame World as being a more formidable offensive lineman than a defensive one, or vice versa. He pointed to World’s physical frame as a significant reason for this.
“I think with his size and his personality, he’s a protector,” Carter said. “He bought into that, and he knows that he probably could make a lot of money. I think he’ll probably play offensive tackle in college. You can’t coach his size and stature. So, him being 6’8. That’s a force. And he’s athletic enough to play either side of the ball. Wherever he plays, look out when he puts it all together. He needs just to become the best that he could possibly be.”
“He’s a good kid. He’s a ‘yes coach’ type of kid. He’s kind of a gentle giant off the field, but when he gets on that field, he turns into a totally different person. We started noticing that in game five last year. We looked up, and he was always in the back breaking down the team (huddle), and then by game five, he was the one breaking everybody down and dancing and getting everybody going, and everybody was looking at him to do it. So it was kind of cool to see this kid who hasn’t played football in a long time grow into this big rah rah energy guy. I remember playing against Cathedral Catholic, who is known for cutting people down and big, having nasty offensive lineman. They were ranked No. 5 in the nation last year, and I looked up one play, and World had thrown one guy like three feet in the air, and then he threw another guy on the same play. Just threw him out.
“If this kid could ever channel this and play like this every single play, he could change the game.”
World received offers from Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Idaho, and his coach feels as if the recruiting attention, with or without a 2020 season, will continue for ASU’s newest addition.
“Isaiah has options, and he’s going to continue to have options,” Carter noted. “And he’s going to continue to have people chomping at the bit for him because of his size and stature. You don’t find very many 16-year-olds that look like World. (Oregon head coach) Mario Cristobal said Isaiah was ‘the best looking 16-year-old I’ve seen on either coast.’ So the virus (COVID-19) did play a role into kind of helping him pick early, but I do think so many other people will try to come after him just because…shoot, I would. If you’re doing your job and you can find a player that can help you with that size and stature, why not?”
And for World’s recruitment was ironically also an in-state battle between two fierce rivals.
“I know it was between Arizona State and Arizona,” Carter described. “And I think Arizona State stayed on him. Antonio (Pierce) did a good job constantly reaching out to him and also giving him a little space. I think they got a hell of a coaching staff, and that’s not to knock anybody else’s, but I think what they do as a whole collective group, that played a role in what Isiah World wanted to do.”
As mentioned, World is a true dual-sport athlete that in recent years has played more basketball than football. Yet, a potential cancelation of the high school football season in California isn’t an event that Carter feels would have an extremely adverse effect on such a young player.
“This year is going to be a monumental year for him,” Carter said, “and we were going to play him on both offense and defense. For him, playing this year would help him out just because. But with these kids, these days, they have so much stuff at their disposal where they could just continue to get better and work. And he’s the type of kid that’s going to rise to the occasion. So, if he had to go against bigger and better boys (in college), I know he’ll get better, He’ll probably redshirt, but he will get better going up against these players.”
Time will tell if the next few months will see the uptick in programs courting this mammoth of a lineman. Yet, right here, right now, World is quite content with his decision on his college future.
“Arizona State came to me, so just like they researched me, my mom did some research on them,” World explained. “Doing that research really helps to get to know the school, even if I don’t get to visit them. And it’s a plus that San Diego isn’t that far from the school. I’m still planning to visit them when the dead period is over.
“I’m definitely considering graduating high school early. I was always thinking that I was going to graduate in the spring (of 2021) but I might change my mind.”
World is the seventh ASU known pledge in the 2021 class, and the third such player from the state of California.
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Jesse Morrison contributed to this article