Despite being a graduate student at Wharton, a business management student with a minor in marketing, running back Isaiah Malcome has decided to come back for another year to play the sport he has loved since he was little. .
Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Malcome grew up playing soccer from a young age and credits his older brother with influencing his choice in the sport.
“It was the first sport I learned to play when I was four,” said Malcome. “I also started playing basketball at this age under the influence of my older brother, but football was the first game I understood when I was a child. It was so much fun when I started, because I played a defensive end to start, which seems crazy to think about it now. I loved competing with my friends every day, even though it was a beggarly friend. I just enjoyed playing the game everyday.
It was this love of the game that prompted Malcome to return to gambling this fall semester, despite graduating from Penn last May. After all Ivy League games were called off last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA allowed graduate students to compete this year, an opportunity Malcome welcomed.
“I kept playing because I love football,” said Malcome. “I’ve been around this my whole life, and I believe I can play it at a high level.”
In order to perfect his profession, Malcome draws inspiration from many footballers.
“My inspiration in the field has several people brought together,” said Malcome. “As a child my dad introduced me to Barry Sanders, but as I continued to learn and watch football some players stood out like Darren Sproles, Maurice-Jones Drew, Chris Johnson, Percy Harvin, Dalvin Cook and Tyreek Hill . Just to name a few. There is more, but I think there is always something to learn and refine in your game, and you can learn it by watching others and criticizing yourself.
Family is everything is a phrase that resonates particularly with Malcome, illustrated by the way it affects his playing.
“My inspiration off the pitch is my family and my nephew,” said Malcome. “My family has been there every step of the way, and it’s great to have them as a support system. I never had a little brother, but that’s how I see my nephew. I want to be a role model for him, so he can make the right decisions along the way for whatever he decides to do.
Considering the skills he has learned after years as a running back and watching his favorite football stars at work, Malcome has no plans to change jobs.
“I don’t think I would [switch positions] because being a [running back] allows me to use my versatility and playmaking ability as a player, ”said Malcome. “Be a [running back] gives me the opportunity to run, catch and play big games. I can even be divided as [wide receiver], or even still make games in the game of special teams.
This year has been an adjustment for everyone. For Malcome, experiencing moments means adjusting to your personal circumstances and making the most of the time you have.
“[COVID-19] definitely had a little impact on my routine, but you still have to adapt to your situation to get the most out of it, ”said Malcome. “[With COVID-19], it was much easier to manage your time, as the pace of life was decently slow, so now that we are starting to get back to a somewhat normal way of life, time management has become paramount as time is essential.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for athletes around the world, both aspiring and seasoned. To all aspiring players, Malcome encourages them to show persistence and courage as they continue to work towards their dream.
“I would just tell them to keep working hard and strive for what you want,” Malcome said. “Keep betting on yourself and know your worth.”
As a recent graduate, Malcome has big plans for his future, including playing in the big leagues and seeking out-of-state business opportunities.
“I want to keep playing to go to the NFL,” said Malcome. “I worked in [New York City] before, and I’ve done other ventures, but I’d love to keep playing ball.