Grand finale

The start of the football season didn't unfold exactly the way Ty Isaac planned. This is his senior year, his time to shine, and his last opportunity to have fun with best friends. But a shoulder injury threatened to derail those plans.

Isaac was knocked out of Joliet (Ill.) Catholic Academy's nationally televised opener and was forced to sit out the next game as well. Fortunately, the injury wasn't serious and the four-star running back healed quickly enough to rush for 100 yards and two touchdowns in his Sept. 7 return.

On Wednesday, Isaac's roller coaster season continued its upward trajectory as he was presented with his game jersey as part of the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game.

"I'm excited and happy to be a part of such a big game," Isaac said. "You see all the big names that have come through [this event] and I'm thankful to have the same opportunity. This is very special for me."

That Isaac, a USC commit, has battled adversity this year made his ceremony all the more meaningful. He rushed for 287 and 229 yards in back-to-back weeks leading up to the jersey presentation, once again generating the numbers that helped him become the nation's seventh-ranked tailback.

"It's a great feeling after playing four years of high school football and seeing you're up there with some of the best players in the country," said Isaac, the second-ranked player in Illinois. "Guys that play in the Under Armour All-American Game get a lot of notoriety, and it's fun to be a part of."

Isaac said earning an invitation to a marquee game had always been a major goal.

"I think everybody wants to play in an All-American game," he said, "but ever since it started up, the Under Armour Game has been the one I've wanted to play in. I'm just excited to experience the whole week leading up to the game. It'll be fun."

Isaac said bonding with future USC teammates and fellow Under Armour All-Americans Max Redfield (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo) and Sebastian LaRue (Santa Monica, Calif./Santa Monica) would be a priority when the athletes arrive in Florida for the early-January event.

"It'll be a part of building a relationship and a bond within our class," said Isaac, who intends to enroll early at USC. "It's going to be good for us."