Jacob Isabel: the not-so-secret weapon of Chapman football

Junior psychology major Jacob Isabel transferred to Chapman this semester and he has already made a name for himself as a starting wide receiver on the football team.

In his first home game, he racked up 106 yards, a number he said he would like to double in his upcoming games.

“The first month or two, I was kind of a nobody,” Isabel said. “I didn’t really have the respect from the guys until they could see the way I played.”

Despite being the oldest player on the team at age 23, Isabel said he felt like a freshman his first few months here.

“Making friends here has not been hard, especially after I started making plays,” Isabel said.

“Although I don’t have a lot of free time, I do like to go to the beach a lot and go skim boarding.”

Despite an active lifestyle and his sporting activities, Isabel has a guilty pleasure.

“I have a bad problem eating doughnuts and since I moved here, I eat doughnuts almost five times a week,” Isabel said. “There’s a Winchell’s out here that’s open 24/7 and it is my worst enemy.”

Junior wide receiver Jacob Isabel cheers on Chapman’s defensive line during the homecoming game against Pomona-Pitzer Oct. 1. Photo by Bonnie Cash

Junior wide receiver Jacob Isabel cheers on Chapman’s defensive line during the homecoming game against Pomona-Pitzer Oct. 1. Photo by Bonnie Cash

Isabel took a year off after high school, then studied at Chabot College and took an additional two years off to work. After the working period, he decided to reach out to colleges and Chapman responded.

After Chapman’s home victory over Trinity University on Sep. 24, head coach Bob Owens had nothing but praise for Isabel.

“I think we’re going to be an outstanding offensive football team at the end of the day and this guy is one the reasons why,” Owens said. “We think he’s going to be a special player for us.”

Wide receivers coach Augustino Adams echoed a similar sentiment.

“He’s one of the better players we’ve had over the past few years,” Adams said. “He reminds me of (ex-Chapman wide receivers) Blayr Jimmerson and Sean Myers mixed into one person.”

According to Adams, Isabel possesses the speed of Jimmerson and the football savvy of Myers.

“As a teammate, person in the locker room or on campus, he’s the guy we look for,” Adams said. “He’s always helping out fellow athletes and is the first to congratulate them when he sees someone do well.”

However, according to Adams, Isabel is very hard on himself.

“A bad practice for him is if he drops the football even once,” Adams said. “I always tell him to relax and wish he would be more vocal because he’s very reserved.

Isabel spends a lot of his time off the field working out.

“I love working out, playing pickup basketball and just being active,” Isabel said. “I’m not the best at basketball, but I enjoy it anyway.”

Apart from football and the occasional game of basketball, Isabel also played organized rugby for five years.

“I was actually better at rugby than I was at football,” he said. “But football is more glorified than rugby is, in the US.”

While Isabel was asked to try out for the Under-19 rugby team, he said his junior college coach wouldn’t let him, as it would prevent him from playing college football.

Isabel remains undeterred by these impediments in his life and is attempting to focus on both academics and sports with the support of the university and his coaches, according to Adams.

“Here is a big family,” Isabel said. “In junior college, everyone is trying to get to the next level, but here (Chapman) everyone is already where they want to be, so they help each other as a team and as a family.”

Senior wide receiver Ethan Weinstein became good friends with Isabel while they worked together on the team during the summer.

“He makes the team better because he is a leader,” Weinstein said. “He’s the kind of guy you want with the ball in his hands.”

Weinstein and Adams agree that Isabel has become someone that the team looks up to and is the kind of player that Chapman needs.

“People forget that he is two years removed from football, so this is his second game in two years,” Adams said. “I’m waiting to see him back in full stride, so if this is just the tip of the iceberg, you can imagine how good he is going to be.”

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