Tennessee is looking to recapture its glory from the 1990s. Join us daily at SEC Country for the latest Tennessee recruiting news and notes on the next crop of Volunteers. Check out previous editions here. In this edition, we discuss Tennessee commit Alontae Taylor and the latest in his recruitment.
Tennessee has not had a de-commitment in the Class of 2018 since the season began. It might be hard to lose track of that, though, because things have seemed so volatile.
The Vols have had two prospects — Jatavious Harris and Brendon Harris — publicly open their recruitments to other schools. There are rumors more commits have done this too, such as commit Cade Mays.
Wide receiver prospect Alontae Taylor has remained committed to Tennessee, even if it might not sound as firm as some fans would like. Taylor spoke with Matt Freeman about where he is in his recruitment.
“All I can say is that I am committed,” Taylor said. “I can’t say if it’s a hard commit or a soft commit. I am committed.”
Tennessee has a lot going for it in the Taylor recruitment. Most importantly, he has a close relationship with the coaching staff.
“It’s the in-home state school, in the SEC and I love everything about the university without football,” Taylor said. “As far as football goes, I love coach [Butch] Jones and what he’s doing, even with the ups and downs right now.
“I love coach [Kevin] Beard, so [that] it has a family feeling every time I get on campus is a big reason why I committed there.
“I understand the academic part isn’t a Notre Dame, Vanderbilt or Stanford, but they do have a great education.”
Taylor is a pretty good student at Coffee County Central High School (Manchester, Tenn.), which comes from his mother. Academics will play a role in his final decision.
“My mom is always preaching about how academics come first,” Taylor said. “I have had some ideas of what I want to major in. Physical therapy or sports management are two majors I have thought about.”
Notre Dame offer
Taylor received an offer from Notre Dame on Tuesday that might make his recruitment a little more interesting.
— Alontae Taylor (@TaeTaylor6) October 10, 2017
“I talked to coach Clark [Lea],” Taylor told Irish Sports Daily. “We spoke on the phone. He told me that they loved me at Notre Dame. They really liked the fact I am a good student and how I play.
“Then he offered me a full-ride scholarship as a cornerback.”
The defensive back offer is an interesting one. Taylor has been a lifelong quarterback but made the switch to wide receiver this season. His future in college will be on the perimeter with his speed, not under center.
Playing on the defensive side of the ball seems at least intriguing to Taylor right now.
“There are some schools that have brought it up,” Taylor said of playing defense. “As far as the defensive side of the ball, cornerback would be the spot I would want to play. If not, I would just play receiver.”
Taylor also received an offer from Ohio State on Wednesday.
— Alontae Taylor (@TaeTaylor6) October 11, 2017
The Notre Dame offer has shaken up Taylor’s plans for the rest of fall.
“My official visits were set, but after talking to coach Lea, my official visits are going to change,” Taylor said. “I will be taking an official visit to Notre Dame. Unsure of when, but I will talk to Coach Lea [Thursday] to set it up.”
“I am going to visit Tennessee, Louisville, South Carolina and Georgia too.”
While Notre Dame is the freshest offer for Taylor, I don’t know how threatening it is. The team for Vols fans to worry about is Georgia.
The Bulldogs have kept up the recruitment of Taylor even when he said it was always going to be Tennessee.
Georgia looks to be coming into its own in coach Kirby Smart’ second season. This isn’t the reason why Taylor still considers the Bulldogs, though.
“I wouldn’t say it’s about the momentum,” Taylor explained. “I’ve been talking to UGA since the summer, so I can’t really say that liking them has anything to do with how their season is going. The bond I have with coach [James] Coley and Coach Smart is the reason I like UGA.”
Taylor will still probably be a Vol when it is all said and done. Teams, however, are starting to become more confident he could look elsewhere.
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