Film Room: Isaiah West

On3 imageby:Adam Luckett03/01/24

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Kentucky is recording some early recruiting wins in the 2025 cycle at the skill positions. On Friday, the Wildcats landed a tailback to join quarterback Stone Saunders and wide receiver Quintin Simmons in the class. The SEC program is not leaving the Mid-Atlantic region in high school recruiting.

Philadelphia (Pa.) St. Joseph’s Prep tailback Isaiah West (5-11, 210) became a Cat on Friday, and gives running backs coach Jay Boulware a solid win on the trail. Kentucky recorded a recruiting win over Wisconsin, Nebraska, and North Carolina after landing the top 20 prospect in Pennsylvania.

What will the tailback commit bring to Kentucky’s offense? Isaiah West is a elusive tailback that can get downhill and create yards after contact.

Elusiveness on tape

Isaiah West was the leading rusher on a state title team as a junior. The class of 2025 prospect can extend runs thanks to tackle breaking and open field elusiveness. West can make defenders miss in short area spaces and that is an important skill to have at tailback.

West flashes good contact balance on tape and is often able to bounce off tackles without losing his footing. That allows the tailback to extend runs and gain some aggravating yardage. St. Joseph’s also utilizes West in the throw games in a plethora of screens. The three-star recruit finished the season with 13 receptions and consistently made defenders miss in space. That helped create explosive plays.

Isaiah West flashes elusiveness in the box and in space. The tailback can create chunk gains as a rusher and receiver. That gives the prospect some real value at 200-plus pounds.

Downhill runner

The explosive plays are nice, but Isaiah West is not necessarily a home run tailback. Kentucky has thrived with 200-plus pound tailbacks that can make one cut, get downhill, and finish runs. Their latest commitment at the position can do just that.

West shows play strength, explosive cuts, and finishing ability on tape.

In the red zone, the tailback makes a great north/south cut cutting off the inside of a block for a successful gain that ultimately ends in the paint thanks to some leg drive upon contact. On a bounced run, West flashes a stiff arm (a go-to move for the tailback) before mashing his way through a cornerback in run support. The running back is hard to bring down and multiple gang tackles show up on film. That is a positive sign.

Isaiah West is at his best in the box making quick, decisive cuts and running through contact. Those two playing traits should translate to the next level.

Isaiah West is a fit for Kentucky

Kentucky has made a living with downhill runners that thrive running between the tackles. Ray Davis gave the offense a nice change-of-pace in 2023, but that could be changing just a bit with Ohio State transfer Chip Trayanum taking over in 2024. The Wildcats still want explosiveness at the tailback position but there is a need for power.

Isaiah West could be a nice blend of both, but the inside running might be more important.

The newest Kentucky pledge is a downhill runner that shifts into gear quickly with strong cuts and finishes runs with a physical brand of football. There is a clear fit here between player and offense. Isaiah West is a multi-purpose back that can bring some between the tackles power to Lexington.

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2024-04-22