Dec 21, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Southern California Trojans tailback Ty Isaac (29) is pursued by Fresno State Bulldogs nose guard Tyeler DavisoN (92) and defensive end Nikko Motta (52) in the Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium. USC defeated Fresno State 45-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ty Isaac to Transfer From USC, Return Closer to Illinois

Steve Sarkisian’s USC Trojans took a big hit this morning, as Chris Swanson of Rivals has reported that Ty Isaac has been released from his scholarship and permitted to transfer from the program. The five-star running back will transfer closer to home, though the terms of his release have not been disclosed.

A Joliet, Ill. product, Isaac picked USC over midwest schools including Michigan, Illinois and Notre Dame. Given that he’s looking to head back towards his roots, those schools among others appear to be the most likely initial suitors.

Isaac appeared in 14 games as a freshman, rushing for 236 yards on 40 carries as a reserve running back. He got a bulk of the second half carries in a blowout against Cal last November, finishing with a season-high 87 yards while scoring his only two touchdowns of the year.

With Tre Madden, Buck Allen and Justin Davis all ahead of him on the depth chart, reps may have been hard to come by for Issac as a sophomore.

Despite Madden and Davis suffering injuries that as a tandem cost them most of the second half of last season, Isaac couldn’t supplant Allen for top billing in the backfield.

That said, Isaac would have been a main cog in the Trojans plans moving forward, with the possibility of Madden and Allen leaving for the NFL as soon as next year, should they so choose.

Sarkisian has previously said they he plans to bring in two running backs in the 2015 recruiting class, but that was with Isaac on the roster. Following the news of the transfer, it’ll be interesting to see how Sark prioritizes the backfield and whether or not he’ll try to bring in as many as three backs come February.

Having a highly touted running back transfer away from USC isn’t anything new for the Trojans, and in fact it’s been somewhat of a trend. In recent years, Troy has lost Emmanuel Moody to Florida, Broderick Green to Arkansas and Amir Carlisle to Notre Dame. Add in the loss of Dillon Baxter and it’s remarkable how many four and five-star backs have concluded their collegiate careers elsewhere.

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