Four years ago, Wesley McGriff wanted Marshall Taylor, a safety out of Cordele, Ga., to sign with Vanderbilt.
Taylor ultimately spurned the Commodores and others for Miami (Ohio), but he’s found his way back to the defensive backs coach.
Following an official visit to Auburn this weekend, Taylor, a graduate transfer, committed to McGriff and the Tigers over Florida, Mississippi State and Louisville. He will have one more year of eligibility to exhaust following his graduation in May.
“It felt so right. They’ve been showing me a ton of love, and they’ve been recruiting me the hardest,” Taylor told SEC Country. “They were already at the top, anyway. Just the familiarity I have with (defensive backs) Coach (Wesley) McGriff going back to high school and the family atmosphere they provide … they preach it, but they actually do it. Some programs say they do this and that, but Auburn actually provides a family environment.
“It was the right fit for me.”
Marshall admitted he was drawn to Auburn for several reasons, from the top-of-the-line facilities to Gus Malzahn’s proven track record and the lure of playing in the SEC. But it was McGriff’s presence that swayed his decision. When Marshall began showing interest in the Tigers, the first-year defensive backs coach reached out to him.
“He’s a great guy and a great teacher, “ Taylor said of McGriff. “I watched him back then coach some of the guys at Vanderbilt and go through film. I wanted to learn from him, and I know he can get me to where I want to be at as a player.
“He was a big factor, honestly. I feel comfortable with him. I trust (McGriff).”
Marshall anticipates he’ll fill the voids left behind by Auburn defensive back Blake Countess, who declared for the NFL draft. Marshall flashed at both cornerback and nickel during his time at Miami (Ohio), similar to how Countess was used at Auburn after he transferred from Michigan last fall.
The opportunity to play early, Marshall said, was appealing.
“Countess did the same thing last year,” Taylor said. “He got to get on the field early, so that played a factor. Blake came in and did a fantastic job last year. As a graduate transfer, you’re going to get the chance to show your abilities.”
Marshall will bolster a secondary that will be without Countess, Jonathan Jones and Jordan Colbert.