FEATURED: Ridwan Issahaku
Oct. 11, 2017
This feature article originally appeared in the TCU Gameday Program, which is free to all fans at each TCU football home game. Each week, GoFrogs.com will publish the features from the previous edition of the TCU Gameday Program.
by Madelon Allen, TCU Athletics Communications Intern
Ridwan Issahaku is a product of TCU Head Coach Gary Patterson's formula to convert offensive players into standout defenders.
In high school in Georgia, Issahaku played quarterback as a freshman and sophomore. After sitting out his junior year because of transferring schools, he came back as a senior, playing quarterback as well as corner.
Things were different for the Peach State product once he came to TCU.
"Coming here, it's a whole different mentality, especially this defense," said Issahaku. "Really just learning the defensive way but having my offensive features...it was the mindset."
The hybrid offensive/defensive player found his fit here. His knowledge has paid off for the junior. His offensive background has helped his defensive play; He knows how receivers run routes and how the offense is setting up against him on defense.
"I'm more comfortable with the defense after being the signal-caller on offense," said Issahaku. "I can talk more out there; it helps me a lot and hopefully it helps my teammates."
Having offensive knowledge has helped his game, but a trip to his past also pushes him forward today. He learned not to take the game for granted.
This summer, Issahaku went to Ghana with his father.
"That's where I'm really from," said Issahaku. "I was born in Ghana, but I came here when I was 5 years old, and I haven't been back in 17 years. Seeing my family and seeing people I hadn't seen in so long changed my mindset a lot. Just going back home."
He describes the trip as a blessing.
"Any of my family could've been here but they chose my particular family to come to America. There's a lot of people counting on me. I wish [the trip] was longer," said Issahaku. "I really took a lot from it. It really changed me more than anything. I feel like that's the biggest key to success, going to Ghana."
And that key has given him success. In the season opener against Jackson State, Issahaku returned an interception 53 yards for a touchdown; it was TCU's 18th pick-six since 2010. Against Arkansas, he led the team with a team-high eight tackles.
So how does he do it?
"I'm a preparation guy. I know if I prepare well, it'll lead to a good game," he said. "Just prepare and control what I can control. Preparation and execution, that's all I'm worried about."
However, the preparation is only for the next matchup, nothing beyond that. He treats each game the same, and isn't thinking about anything else besides taking this season one day at a time, making sure he has a good season this year.
Expect Issahaku to continue to make big plays and be a breakout star on the Frogs' roster. He expects nothing less of himself.
"We work so hard," said Issahaku. "Losing isn't an option. Everyone takes it personally."
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