Almost all prospects have a secret they can’t tell anyone during their recruitment.
It usually involves their decision-making process and not wanting to reveal where they’re going to school.
But for Florida safety signee Jeawon Taylor, his secret surrounded his play on the football field.
His junior year was his first time playing safety, and he did well at the position. But with college coaches evaluating his film, there was a flaw in his game that he didn’t want them aware of.
“I used to play kind of blind,” Taylor said. “I wear glasses, but I never got contacts. So my whole junior season I played with my vision really blurry because I’m nearsighted. I got contacts the second game of my senior season and it made a big difference. But I never told anybody.”
Schools must not have noticed, because Taylor received offers from Auburn, Florida, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Missouri after his junior season. His first offer came from Kentucky, and he gave that staff major props for their recruiting prowess.
Taylor ultimately decided on the Gators and stuck with them on signing day despite a late push from Georgia.
The following is a Q&A with Taylor in the 10th edition of our Florida recruiting rewind series:
Q: If you could give a junior ONLY one piece of advice about the recruiting process, what would it be?
A: “Patience. Take your time, don’t rush the process. It’ll make you go crazy.”
Q: What school came in second? What could they have done a little better?
A: “Georgia. I like the staff they put together. Georgia always wins. I don’t really know why Mark Richt got fired. He got nine or 10 wins every year. But me and Kirby (Smart) are real close, but I was solid to Florida.”
Q: What was the most creative thing a school or coach did to get your attention?
A: “The picture edits were cool. I got a lot of letters from Florida, Georgia and Auburn. I tried to read all of them, but some of the handwriting was so ugly.”
Q: What was the biggest rumor about you that wasn’t true?
A: “That I was going to flip. I started hearing it as soon as Georgia offered me. It came mostly from students. They all told me, ‘I heard you’re going to Georgia?’ I’m like, ‘Where did you hear that from?’ So then I had to mess with them and keep everybody guessing.”
Q: What was the funniest story that happened on one of your recruiting trips.
A: “On my official to Florida, coach Drew Hughes (director of player personnel) was doing an introduction for all the recruits visiting and he was just pumped. I had never seen him that live before in my life. He was hype.”
Q: Which coach was it the hardest to say no?
A: “Kirby. I’m a man and called him the Sunday before signing day. I wanted to make sure he could replace me and find another player if I was the only safety he was looking for. He felt kind of disappointed, but he was OK with it.”
Q: Which school disappointed you the most during recruiting?
A: “Auburn. They recruited me hard, then they just stopped communicating with me. That’s why they fell out.”
Q: Which college would you have considered more seriously if they had offered you earlier in the process?
A: “The Oregon Ducks, if they would have offered. I love their swag.”
Q: Which head coach of a team that you did not sign with was the nicest?
A: “Kirby. I used to go visit Alabama and Kirby would always hang out with me. We’d shoot basketball and just became close. He always told me he liked me. He was ready to offer me on the spot when he first saw me.”
Q: If you were in charge of the NCAA, what’s the one rule you would change with recruiting?
A: “I think you should be recruited all year. More contact, more phone calls, everything. That would make it better.”
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- Recruiting Rewind with Jawaan Taylor: ‘I had never seen dance moves like that’
- Recruiting Rewind with Brett Heggie: ‘He told me not to go to Florida’
- Recruiting Rewind with Vosean Joseph: ‘Nick Saban read my name off a piece of paper’
- Recruiting Rewind with Antonneous Clayton: ‘I picked Florida when I saw that first palm tree’
- Recruiting Rewind with Jachai Polite: ‘USC said I can be the next Leonard Williams’
- Recruiting Rewind with Jeremiah Moon: ‘Coach (Will) Muschamp pulled my Auburn offer’
Zach Abolverdi is the Florida beat writer for SEC Country and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow @ZachAbolverdi