Issac Casnave is a class of 2023 running back out of Salmen High School in Slidell, Louisiana. Standing at 6’0″ and weighing 217 pounds with a 2.8 GPA, the senior can bench 290 pounds, can run a 4.6 second 40, and squat 485 pounds. Casnave has been known to be a bulldozer on the field, running over others on the field. Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Casnave about his young career.
Q: Why do you play the game?
“I was born into it, basically. I just fell in love with football after my first couple games of little league. Being pushed was really helpful, and I just fell in love with it.”
Q: Where do you see football going in your life?
“I feel like I can go to the next level. [If I] just keep grinding and grinding and don’t stop pumping the gas pedal, than I feel like I can make it big.”
Q: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned playing football?
“Practice how you play. If you don’t go that full speed in practice, you’re gonna come to the game feeling slow and pacing yourself when you want to take off.”
Q: What does football mean to you?
“It’s like a first job. It’s not a job that I want to give up, either. Football is life. It’s fun to play, and I love it. I don’t want to stop playing.”
Q: What challenges have you overcome?
“Injuries and not starting. I went into high school thinking I was going to start, and then fell of of it because I wasn’t starting. It just threw me down right there. But I started noticing that I have three more years, so you can keep working until you get your spot. I [still] felt like it wasn’t going how I wanted it to go, but you don’t always get your way. So you just got to work for what you can get.”
Q: What motivates you to keep playing, despite those injuries and not starting when you thought you would be?
“The support from my family. They always tell me to never give up, and that everything is going to come [in time]. It’s just motivation.”
Q: Do you have a favorite football memory?
“My first touchdown. I still have that on video. It was a 60-yard pass, and I ran down to score it. It was when I was eleven years old. I still look back at it today. It made me feel a lot of love for this sport. It’s a different feeling when you score. It’s like ‘Dang, I just scored! I can’t believe it!’ It’s just happiness and joyful. It’s like a dream come true.”
Q: How do you balance sports with your other responsibilities?
“My education is always going to be first. Here’s how I put it: God, family, education, and then football. Without God, I wouldn’t be here and be able to do what I do. With family, my mom brought be into this world. Education, I can’t play football without education, so I need education. That’s how I line it up.”
Q: How do you stay trained and in football-shape during the offseason?
“I have a trainer [that I train with a lot]. He’s like a second dad, basically. He knows the game, he played at the top levels. He’s already seen and already knows what I need.”
Q: How are you looking to improve your game?
“Quicker on my feet and playing small. I’m a big kid, and when you see a big kid, you know he’s a down-hill runner. But then, it’s like the next level when a kid decides to break out a 70-yard touchdown, an 80-yard touchdown, a kickoff return… so mainly it’s speed for me.”
Q: On the other side, what is the strongest aspect of your game?
“I don’t go down easy. At all. I feel like one person should not tackle me. [I want it to be a business decision] to try and tackle me. I’m coming with all my power.”
Q: What are some goals you’ve set for yourself, whether this year or beyond?
“To be a leader and being able to be a rolemodel. I know some people look at me and see what I can do, so I just want to lead people the right way.”
Q: Do you try to model your game after any players, pro or collegiate?
“At first I didn’t, but people kept saying I was like Adrian Peterson and Derrick Henry. One day I took a look at their film, and I just started taking tips on how they play their game.”
Q: What is your favorite part of playing runningback?
“I like celebrating with the big fella’s, the lineman. Once I score and see the big smiles on their faces, it brings me joy and happiness. I also like being that gamechanger.”
Q: Do you consider football to be more physically challenging, mentally challenging, or a bit of both?
“I think it can be both. I don’t want to say football is the number one, but definitely top five in most dangerous sports [to play physically]. There’s nothing but contact. But mentally… I don’t think it’s mentally for me, but for other people you got trash talk, people hitting you after plays, and dirty players. I’m just quiet and play my game so I can get you the next play.”
Q: What is something you want your coaches to know about you, past, present, or future?
“I am always improving. [On top of that,] I’m accountabile, so they can count on me to make a play or to be a leader. I will play anywhere, I just want to get on the field.”
To see his highlights, click here.