Senior football player Isiah Cage’s future is on a collision course with the NFL

    Blugold football player is eligible for the upcoming NFL draft

    Former offensive tackle Isiah Cage signed a three year undrafted free agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday.

    Photo by SUBMITTED

    Former offensive tackle Isiah Cage signed a three year undrafted free agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday.

    Isiah Cage, a senior criminal justice student, played his first organized sport his junior year of high school, varsity football. Five years later, his next step in his football career is most likely the NFL.

    The Chicago native grew up playing backyard football then went on to play NCAA Division II football at Concordia University (Minn.) for two years before joining the UW-Eau Claire football team as an offensive tackle, Cage said.

    “I was pretty bad my first year (of high school) and that was a rough year for me,” Cage said. “Then I came back my senior year and was the strongest player on the team. I spent a lot of time in the weight room during the offseason. I was the first back in the weight room, and I worked pretty hard.”

    Cage’s hard work paid off as he went off to play in college. His first year as a Blugold he was named “All-Conference.” After being named to the conference team again his sophomore year, his coach had a conversation with him about scouts coming to watch him play.

    “He told me that there will be guys coming to check you out,” Cage said. “It went in one ear and out the other at the time because I was only a sophomore; I didn’t really know what was going to happen.”

    At the time, Cage said he didn’t know that playing in the NFL was possible for him. Playing for the NFL was always a dream in the back of his mind, and he knew it would be harder to make it at an NCAA Division III level, Cage said.

    “I was never discouraged or anything like that. Other people around me told me that I was probably gonna go to the NFL, but you can’t let all that go to your head. You just keep working hard and do what you’re doing.”

    Then, after he improved yet again in his junior season, the NFL scouts started to notice, Cage said.

    Right before spring break last year, scouts from the Minnesota Vikings and the Dallas Cowboys met with him, Cage said.

    The scouts gathered all of Cage’s background information, tested his speed, requested his playing film and gave him an aptitude test, which makes him eligible for the NFL draft this spring.

    During the fall 2015 season, Cage’s senior year, 15 NFL teams were interested in having Cage play for them came to talk to him.

    Freshman JT Denhartog, who transferred to Eau Claire this year from the University of Minnesota Duluth, met Cage last April when he was looking at transferring.

    Nearly a year later, Denhartog said he considers Cage a good friend.

    “He’s very motivated and a great person,” Denhartog said. “He works extremely hard, that’s why he’s getting this opportunity.”

    Nick Smallwood, a senior criminal justice student, played defensive tackle at Concordia University his freshmen year and transferred to Eau Claire a year before Cage did.

    “A funny story is that he played offensive line first, so we were adversaries when we first met,” Smallwood said, “but now we’re best friends.”

    Smallwood said he played a large role in Cage becoming a Blugold. When Cage made it known he was ready to transfer, Smallwood showed him what Eau Claire had to offer.

    Smallwood said he is excited to see someone come from the bottom. Cage is very focused and still applying for jobs in case his NFL career doesn’t work out, he said.

    “He’s a critical thinker and not one to make dumb mistakes,” Smallwood said. “He considers others in his decision making. He’s not letting it get to his head, and he’s not letting the stardom get to him.”

    Chris Cummings, a senior wide receiver, said Cage has a great chance of making it.

    “He won’t forget where he came from or what this university has done for him, personally not only from a football standpoint, but also the work he’s done in the community, like the epilepsy walk and his responsibility in the Student Senate.” Cummings said. “He’s making the campus better for students. His voice in the community is very impactful.”

    Cage said he is a Bears fan, but doesn’t have a specific team he wants to join and will join whichever team gives him the best opportunity. He said If the NFL doesn’t work out he plans to go into law enforcement.