BUFORD, Ga. — Tyler Taylor couldn’t help but look on the sidelines and see coaches from Ohio State, Auburn, Southern California, Kentucky and Mississippi State zeroing in on his every move.
Buckeyes defensive coordinator Greg Schiano was even talking with Taylor’s girlfriend to find out all of the info he could about him.
“Is he a good guy?” Schiano asked her.
“Yes he is,” she nervously laughed.
Taylor claims offers from 20 schools but at Tuesday’s practice, the four-star inside linebacker was playing like a high schooler that has zero scholarships at his fingertips.
There’s a big reason for that: He has made a promise to his mother, Akita, that he will give everything he has to whatever he’s doing, no matter who is watching.
“I do everything I do for my mom,” Taylor told SEC Country. “She’s a single mother, so she’s playing both roles of being a mom and dad.”
Taylor had planned a surprise for his mother this past weekend for Mother’s Day, but the plans changed at the last minute because Akita decided that they were going to travel to south Georgia to be with her mother.
The Lanier High School standout did a 180 and opted for the can’t-go-wrong gift of flowers and a card. He said the surprise will have to wait until next year.
“You aren’t going to print this, right?” Taylor joked.
His mother has been a vital role in his recruitment, which has taken a toll on him, he says.
At first, the recruiting process was fun. All of the coaches showering him with love was great, but as the days get closer to making a final college decision, the stress rises.
He doesn’t have any top schools right now. Taylor said you can expect to see a list of his top eight schools come the first week of summer.
One of the schools that will definitely make that list is Alabama. Other schools that he is strongly considering at this point include Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Taylor cited his relationship with the Alabama staff, particularly with Crimson Tide defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, as one of the factors for why he’s high on the program.
Another reason is of the school’s reputation.
“They’re known for being that school,” the nation’s No. 10 inside linebacker said with a smile . “When you think about college football, you think about Alabama.”
Though linebacker depth is deep at Alabama, Taylor isn’t too worried about it. In fact, a deeper depth chart may actually help the Tide’s case with him when he commits at some point during his senior season.
“I kind of look up to that,” Taylor said of playing with other top players. “I may not have a chance to play my freshman year, but if I get under those guys’ wings, they are going to teach me and be a mentor.”
The 6-foot-1, 213-pounder is rated as the No. 33 prospect in the state of Georgia.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
Chris Kirschner covers Alabama football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Bryant-Denny.