CLOSER LOOK: Kaiser RB Taleeb Isom
Take a closer look at Fontana Kaiser’s Taleeb Isom and you’ll see one of the best, yet unheralded, junior tailbacks in the Inland Area.
A slashing runner with explosive quickness, Isom is big enough (6-foot, 180 pounds) to blast through holes and fast enough (4.6 sec. 40-yard dash) to escape from the opponent’s secondary.
He should be considered among the very best running backs heading into 2012, but there has been little written about Isom.
Part of the problem may stem from his lack of self-promotion. Isom’s a man a few words, at least he was when I spoke to him following Kaiser’s 13-6 victory over Jurupa Valley in Week 7.
This makes him unlike many of his generation. That is, he’s seemingly not brash and outspoken, and despite his linguistic differences he seemed direct and even thoughtful.
And since he didn’t have much to say for himself, and has had so little written about him (though he’s popped up here and there), FOMB is giving him the coverage his play has earned.
Isom ran for 33-yard touchdown on his last rushing attempt of the game Friday, locking Kaiser’s victory, the Cats’ fourth consecutive. He finished with 126 yards on 18 carries, and now leads the team 828 yards.
That’s a big-time performance in a big-time road game. Jurupa Valley is a playoff contender, and to finish off the Jaguars on the road may prove a seminal point in Kaiser’s quest for an 11th consecutive league title.
I caught up with Isom at midfield. He had already shaken his shoulder pads. I started in with a question about Jurupa Valley being a better team.
“They’re very improved. They came out strong and hard. We had some mistakes. We had to come out of the half a new team, and that’s what we did,” Isom said.
What’d you talk about at halftime?
“We just gotta tackle, score and block. That’s about it.”
What was the difference from the first half to the second half?
“ The line. Our O-line is outstanding. We just ran the ball.”
Do you feel this is a victory that can give the team even more momentum?
“A lot of momentum. We got better, a lot. It was more of a fight. And we see were we was at.”
How do you think your season is going?
“It’s doing pretty good. It’s pretty nice. It’s one day at a time, though.”
What’s it going to take to get this team another league championship?
“Just hard work, practice, focus. That’s about it. Just allow each other to be coached.”
That’s interesting: “Just allow each other to be coached.”
Is that the sort of positive-mindset mantra, or could it be code for any number of distractions he may be too ingratiated to speak about openly?
Hard to say. But what is easy to say (and write) is that Isom is good. In fact, he’s very good. He’s among the best junior tailbacks in the Inland Area.