This week I had a chance to sit down with Coastal Carolina, Tight-End, Isaiah Likely. The rising prospect’s name has been thrown around football circles, more and more this season. Blessed with strong hands at the catch point. A clean route tree, and a willingness to get dirty in the run game. He has good speed for a guy his size (6-4 245LB), and the athleticism that offensive minds covet, at the highest level. Although his numbers aren’t eye-opening (17 catches for 423 yards and 4tds) the fact that his offense is stacked with talent, makes it more impressive. Also, he has averaged over 24 yards a catch this year. so if numbers matter to you, that should get you excited. I myself don’t get excited about the numbers, I love to watch the film. So before I sat down with him, I sat with a friend of mine, who is a scout in the NFL (asked to stay nameless) and watched every snap of likely this season. Afterward, I asked his opinion on the young star.
“Watching his tape you want to see more. In a good way really. I like his play, his style. he has a swagger to his play. Sort of an off the ball Tight-End. meaning I feel like he is more of a passing threat than a kid you will line up and have blocked all day. He can block, he can, but I like him spread out wide and beating a linebacker, or a slot corner. He has good size and looks 6’4. He has good size, and he moves so well. Great athlete. I think he was a basketball player or something because he moves like one. A lot of teams are doing that now, finding guys who played basketball, and handing them a helmet. He has that feel to him. When you get in the red zone and let him post up a defender. Hard to take it away from him I think. he reminds me a bit of Evan Ingram, from the Giants. Not to say he is the same level, but he reminds me of him. He has the skillset you love, I feel like he could take over a game. He has like 25 yards a catch, that is crazy. I want to see more!”
True, you could line Likely up and let him go. He has that type of playmaking ability, but I wanted to know who he was outside of football?
“Me? I am a guy that loves to have a good time. Not anything crazy, or anything like that. But I like to be with my friends, go out to have fun. We don’t look for trouble or whatever, but we do have fun. I really like music. I am not sure what to say, I don’t really like talking about myself. I guess you could say I am the guy that is always working. I like to work my butt off as a player. On and off the field. I take my craft seriously, so I work really hard on that. Want to be a great player, and be a guy that my team can really believe in. So I keep my focus on that. I am also a family guy. I know without my family I would be nowhere, I wouldn’t be anything without them, and I keep that in mind. I love my people. my friends and family mean the world to me. So I guess that is about it.”
Moving forward he spoke about his playing style, Getting the draft buzz, and what it was like being likened to pro-bowler, Evan Engram?
“Let me say real quick, it is nice I mean that it’s nice to be given some type of draft buzz, or love or whatever. But I know I need to keep working on my craft. I need to keep working and getting better. It is a nice thing to hear, but I want to worry about that when we get there. Right now, I am focusing on the things I can handle. Someone saying I play like Evan Engram, or remind them of him. is crazy. I think the guy is such a great player. In college, he was a star, and he is even better now. So that is crazy to me. But like I said I can’t worry about those things. I need to keep my head on what’s in front of me. As far as my playing style. You could say I am a guy that my team can trust. I am a guy that will work my butt off and get the job done. I think I can make a big play anywhere on the field. I know I am a playmaker. My coaches coach me up to be the guy I am, and I take it seriously. I know at the next level I can be a guy that my team can lean on to make a play. To block, or do any little thing that is needed to be a success.”
I had to say this again, 24 yards a play! This kid has 24 yards a catch. That is amazing. Moving on, I ask you to look at the tape. Watch for yourself, and see the talent he is.