A lot of people have watched the fiasco of the last two months at Tennessee. But no one more than the potential recruits looking to play at the next level. One of those that closely watched the situation was high school superstar Alontae Taylor. The process of moving beyond the incredible drama that was the Tennessee coaching change began this week. Along with Greg Emerson and Brant Lawless on Wednesday, four-star recruit Alontae Taylor signed with Tennessee today.
Alontae Taylor Signs With Tennessee
Lawless holds offers from all of the major programs in the nation, including Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, and Michigan. Taylor originally committed to Tennessee in June, 2016. He decommitted, however, in November due to the firing of former Vols head coach Butch Jones. It was only last week that Taylor re-committed to Tennessee. Taylor wanted to take advantage of the early recruiting period and plans to enroll in school early.
Tale of the Tape
Taylor proved to be a dynamic play-maker while at Coffee County high school, south of Nashville. Taylor accumulated over 8,220 yards and 75 touchdowns over four years at Coffee County. He played quarterback, running back, and wide receiver at different times in his prep career. He was an MVP in the Tennessee East versus West All-Star game and was selected to play in the Under-Armour All-American Game in January. He’s also participated in The Openings. Even with the big numbers, Taylor had to make his name on the camp circuit.
Taylor is rated as a four-star recruit by the industry composite 247Sports.Com. He’s rated as the ninth-ranked prospect in the state of Tennessee and 276th overall prospect nationally. That gives Jeremy Pruitt three top-300 national recruits in college football’s inaugural early signing period.
You can see his high school highlights here. There’s some incredible footage here.
Taylor will arrive in Knoxville at 6’0″, 180. He’ll have to take advantage of being in the program early and build some bulk on a very lean frame. He has the ability to make people miss in the open field and is fast enough to turn those missed tackles into huge gains. However, it’s hard to see Taylor fitting into a prototypical position in what is likely to be a pro-style offense for the future Volunteers offense.
He obviously won’t be a quarterback. It’s unlikely he’ll see any time at running back, either. But his skill set doesn’t translate perfectly into any of the traditional receiver positions. He’s very similar to current Vol Tyler Byrd, who many people think was underutilized in the Jones’ offense. Whoever Pruitt brings in to run Tennessee’s offense, he’ll now have to figure out how to get both Byrd and Taylor–incredibly talented athletes–the right amount of touches.
The Road To Recovery
Taylor joins a roster that has talented athletes. Tennessee was dead-last in the SEC in scoring offense this season, the only team under 20 points per game. Most people think a change in scheme and better coaching will be the difference in getting the Volunteers offense out of the gutter. But a player this talented certainly won’t help. Taylor is one of the key pieces in Pruitt’s first recruiting class, even if he doesn’t know quite where he’ll fit in.