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A few months later, Isaiah got a phone call he never expected...from Harvard University. "I thought it was a joke when they came calling," he says.

Having never dreamed of going to Harvard, Isaiah wondered if he would fit in at the elite university. "The coach said, 'Years down the road, you're not going to ever regret going to Harvard,'" Isaiah says. "And it kind of dawned on me when he said that—why would I regret going to Harvard?"

During his freshman year, Isaiah discovered an old photograph of his mother wearing a Harvard sweatshirt. He says it was proof that he made the right decision. "It hit me right in my heart," he says. "I think it's a sign that [meant], 'You're on the right way, son.'"

Shortly after finding the photograph, Isaiah found a passage highlighted in his mom's Bible: Isaiah: 49, which talks about how a mother never forgets her son. Coincidentally, 49 was the number Isaiah was randomly assigned by the team. He says he still keeps that verse in his locker. "It's kind of funny to me [with] such a brutal sport as football, it's love that got me through to that point. Looking back at my life, she was that guiding light to get me through all those tough times."
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FROM: Why They Beat the Odds
Published on March 01, 2007

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