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 wide receiver commit Alontae Taylor and his joke about playing with quarterback Justin Fields.
Alontae Taylor looking more seriously at Georgia
Georgia received huge recruiting news on Oct. 6 when the No. 1 player in the country, quarterback Justin Fields, committed to the Bulldogs.
A talent like Fields can attract a lot of prospects who want to play alongside him. Is Tennessee commit Alontae Taylor one of those prospects?
Taylor spoke with Jeff Sentell of Dawg Nation last week about the latest in his recruitment.
Taylor and Fields played on the same 7-on-7 team at Nike’s The Opening over the summer. The two had a good connection and even hooked up on a 45-yard touchdown pass. Fields said the duo needed to play together on Saturdays. Taylor played along.
“I joked with Justin a lot at The Opening,” Taylor said. “It was like, ‘Hey, man, wherever you go to school I am going. I will de-commit. I will do anything.’ But that was just us joking. But Justin Fields is a great quarterback and when he committed to Georgia, it made me think about that a whole lot.”
Taylor rates as a 4-star prospect and ranks as the No. 29 receiver in the 2018 class, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
Georgia had been recruiting Taylor as a cornerback for some time, but it has changed its tune to wide receiver. This switch has made Georgia a threat.
Georgia might not have room for Taylor, however.
“Basically, Georgia was just telling me that they are waiting for me,” Taylor said. “I was also told they were only taking two receivers in the 2018 class, and they had those two receivers committed. But they said they would have room for an extra one just for me if I wanted to come to Georgia. They really wanted me to come to Georgia.”
The Georgia coaching staff can say it will make room for Taylor, but the numbers might cloud the way for a flip. Whether the Bulldogs would take three receivers in this class remains to be seen.
Alontae Taylor’s status with Tennessee
Despite the talk about other schools, Taylor remains a part of the Class of 2018 for the Vols. He has always flirted with other schools, but he’s always stayed firm in his commitment.
The rumors surrounding coach Butch Jones’ job hasn’t affected his commitment status, either.
“I have that family feel with Tennessee and love everything that Coach Jones is doing at Tennessee, regardless of all the negative talk,” he said. “I believe in Coach Jones and everything he has going on, and I believe in [wide receivers] coach [Kevin] Beard.
“Coach Beard and I have a really, really close, tight relationship, so I feel like that is keeping me committed to Tennessee. I just can’t turn around and say that I am going to de-commit and go somewhere else.”
Taylor’s relationship with Beard is “keeping” him committed. Unless, of course, the coaching staff is let go, and Beard no longer works for the Vols.
“I’m going to stay committed,” Taylor said. “If there are any changes after I take my official visits and my in-home visits, then I will make that decision then. But right now, I am a solid Tennessee commit.”
Taylor has picked up quite a bit of interest on the recruiting trail over the last few weeks. He has received offers from Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan State.
Taylor will enroll early wherever he decides to commit. So there is a sense that he needs to figure out everything fast.
“I will take my official visits and I will have my in-home visits,” Taylor said. “When I wake up on Dec. 20, then I will have my decision.”
Tennessee fans are hoping he doesn’t wake up with a change of heart.
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