Justin Taylor, a North Atlanta High School running back, recently attended the National Signing Day at Benjamin E. Mays High School on February 1. Taylor, who injured his ACL in September, only played one game his senior year, but was actively pursued by University of Alabama, Ole Miss, and within a week before National Signing Day, University of Kentucky.
Since Taylor’s junior year, he has been verbally committed to University of Alabama. On January 24 though, Alabama’s head coach, Nick Saban, informed Taylor that due to his injury, he would be “grayshirted” until January 2013. Essentially saying Taylor would be signed then. But with Taylor’s unsigned status, he was still free to be pursued by other interested colleges, most famously Ole Miss. Purdue has also expressed interest.
Then University of Kentucky, led by Coach Rich Brooks, began to show intense interest in Taylor just three days before National Signing Day. Taylor signed.
It was by far the most unexpected choice, but Taylor seems confident. “First of all, grayshirting is not me. I love football. I’ve been playing it for a long time. University of Alabama wanted to grayshirt me, and I didn’t want that to happen. University of Kentucky gave me a better chance and a better scholarship offer and I took it.”
Stanley Pritchett, North Atlanta High School’s head football coach and Taylor’s legal guardian comments on Taylor’s choice as well, “I’m very excited and proud because one, I’m his coach, but I’m also his guardian. I’m known him for a long time, since he was an itty-bitty boy, so this is a proud moment for me to see him grow and become the mature, young man that he is. I’m glad he got the opportunity to play in the SEC, you know, it’s not Alabama, where he was committed to. Kentucky is a good choice. I look forward to traveling all football season.”
Pritchett also comments on the reason for selecting Kentucky, “I think the deciding factor was the opportunity. He fits into Kentucky a little bit better than Ole Miss. They are going to push the system and that’s what Justin likes to do. He felt more comfortable with them. The coaches in the system really made the decision for him.”
Taylor will start as a running back for University of Kentucky this fall. Taylor plans to major in education at University of Kentucky, and wants to take the team to the National Championship.