In three years at Texas State University, Isaiah Battle played in three different conferences, had multiple quarterbacks throw him the ball and faced a plethora of defensive schemes and double teams designed to stop him.
Those factors may have hindered Battle's stats, but, through all that adversity, his focus, determination and work ethic remained intact.
Last Saturday (April 26, 2014), Battle worked out for the Houston Texans at a Pro Day held on the practice field of NRG Stadium in Houston (Side Note: It's no longer called Reliant Stadium). This was significant for Battle for a thousand reasons, the top two: 1) He worked out for an NFL team 2) He did it in his hometown of Houston.
"I went to Cypress Woods High School. Some of the best times of my life, I had great coaches there," said Battle. "Just the city of Houston, it makes me so proud to be a part of it. It would be a big deal for me to be able to play for the professional team of my home city."
At the Bobcats senior Pro Day last month, over twenty NFL scouts embarked to Bobcat Stadium to see the talent brewing in San Marcos. Battle took full advantage to showcase his skills, with a 4.46 forty-yard dash, 37-inch leap on the vertical, 17 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press and 9'3" on the broad jump. Of all the teams at the TXST Pro Day, the Houston Texans were the only team to send two scouts.
"I spoke to one of the scouts briefly (at the TXST Pro Day), he came up to me and congratulated me on a good workout, but that was pretty much it," said Battle. "(The scout) seemed very pleased with what I was able to do with the workout, especially when I was running routes for them at the end of all the drills and my forty time impressed them. Other than that, they didn't try to show me too much interest because a lot of other teams were there. When I got there (Houston), they sure did show their appreciation for the way I worked out and they complimented my work ethic."
Battle is completely aware and appreciative of the impact made by former Bobcats and current NFL players Joplo Bartu and Darryl Morris. For Morris and Bartu's TXST senior Pro Day, they only had five scouts to showcase their talents in front of. They obviously set the tone for the next Pro Day when almost ¾ of the NFL showed up to watch the Bobcats.
"Joplo Bartu and Darryl Morris are amazing athletes, I knew it from the moment I stepped foot on this campus that they were going to do something big. You know, they did just that. They stepped into the league and started making plays. I just hope I get the same chance to do what they are doing now," said Battle. "Joplo and Darryl have been a great help with me going through this process, I can lean on them. It's great to have that support system, some people you can lean on. Hopefully, we can get that group (of scouts at the Pro Day) bigger every year. That would be great for this university because I believe this university deserves it."
The Houston Texans are the only team that Battle has worked out for, but they aren't the only ones looking his way. The St. Louis Rams and Atlanta Falcons have contacted both Battle and his agent to inquire about his services.
With interest from multiple teams and working out for one before the draft, it seems fair to say that Battle will get a good shot at becoming an NFL receiver. However, (according to NFLdraftscout.com) Battle is ranked No. 183 out of 325 available wide receivers so the likelihood of him being drafted is slim. Being rookie free agents didn't stop Bartu or Morris from making immediate impacts on their NFL teams last season, so not being drafted doesn't mean he won't make it.
Battle, humble as he always is, said he was honored to at least have the opportunity to play at the next level and that "whatever happens, happens." With that determination, focus and work ethic that Battle displays day in and day out, it's hard to imagine him not getting a chance to play on Sundays.