November 11, 2008

DeSmet Duo

In St. Louis, Mo., DeSmet high school boasts of a pair of juniors that are starting to create a buzz around the Midwest. Although their season ended with a defeat to Fort Zumwalt West on Friday, Defensive tackle Ryan Isom and starting quarterback Steve Kaiser have garnered attention for their play.

Isom created a name for himself after an impressive outing at the NIKE Training Camp this past summer. During the camp, Isom was able to beat four-star lineman John Martinez in one-on-ones, solidifying his name for future recruitment.

"It was a really, really good experience," Isom said about the camp. "I was really excited to get there and see how I would stack up against the elite of the country."

DeSmet coach Pat Moheny said that a lot of his success comes from his unwillingness to take a play off.

"He has a big motor," the coach said. "He is a big kid, around 6-foot-2, about 260, and he has a big motor and gets off the ball really quick. He uses his hands and has really good pursuit to the ball. He runs about a 4.8 or 4.9 on a good day.

"That motor he has got. He just keeps coming, and if a big kid like that can pursue down the line or get in the backfield and chase people down, it is really special."

When looking at potential schools, Isom said that staying in the Midwest is an important factor in his decision. Thus far, the defensive end has been receiving mail from Mizzou, Northwestern and Kansas State. Isom has spent time learning about Mizzou from past alumni he said.

"I have talked to two of my best friends who are alumni, Wes Kemp and Robert Steeples," he said. "They have really been helping me in the recruiting process by telling me what to do and what kind of things help. They are in the program now (Mizzou), so they can really help."

Even though he is very excited about being recruited, Isom said he still has a lot of work to do to become a better player.

"I think I am really quick off the ball and a good run blocker," Isom said. "I have just naturally been good at the run defense. I am looking to improve on my pass defense and just become more elusive."

Isom said he is also working on getting bigger, but not at the cost of his speed.

"I have been working with my coach a lot with my velocity," he said. "I am trying to put on more weight along with getting quicker and faster. The main goal is to stay fast, but I would like to put on some more weight."

On the other side of the ball, quarterback Steve Kaiser is starting to get looks because of his quick release and strong arm.

"I have been hearing from Iowa, Mizzou and Michigan State so far," Kaiser said. "It feels good to get attention and it gets your confidence up and makes you work harder."

Kaiser joined the DeSmet program after spending a year in a wishbone style offense at Francis Howell. Although it has taken some time to adjust, Mahoney is very happy with his quarterback's progression.

"We really have not thrown the ball as much as he would like," Mahoney said. "Of course, because all quarterbacks want to throw the ball on every down. He is a young player that transferred here from Francis Howell where he operated under the wishbone.

"Now, he is in a passing attack pocket passing position. Last year, he only played at the JV level, and this year we have tried to bring him on slowly. I think he is just now at the point where he is reading the entire field. He is a big kid at 6-foot-4, maybe 220, and he has a really powerful arm with a quick release."

Kaiser thinks that his performance has improved over the last two years because of repetition under center.

"I learned the plays better, and I am more used to them," the quarterback said. "It allows me to make better reads since I know where everyone is going."

Mahoney is not sure how well Kaiser will fit in when it comes to the spread offense.

"He is not a spread type of quarterback because he is not a runner, but he is athletic," the coach said. "He can run, but he is not an option-style quarterback. He will stand in the pocket and hold on and keep his eyes down the field and get the ball out. He runs well enough to run the spread. We don't do it that much, but it is in our book."

Being recruited by big-name schools has also had another benefit according to Mahoney.

"More than anything, it is motivating them in the classroom," Mahoney said. "Neither one of them are A+ students, and now they are starting to see how important it is that their grade point average is high so that their test scores don't have to be as high. It is motivating both of them in the classroom."

Neither athlete listed a school at the top of their list because of how early it is in the recruiting process.



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