2018 Recruiting: Taylor Upshaw Comment Count

Brian June 28th, 2018 at 3:14 PM

Previously: Last year's profiles. S Sammy Faustin, S German Green, CB Gemon Green, CB Vincent Gray, CB Myles "Spider" Sims, LB Cameron McGrone.

Bradenton, FL — 6'4", 240


24/7 3*, #540 overall
#23 SDE, #76 FL
Rivals 3*, 5.7 rating
#25 SDE, #75 FL
ESPN 3*, 78 rating
#68 DE, #120 FL
Composite 3*, #562 overall
#25 SDE, #88 FL
Other Suitors UF, OU, Miami, UO, ND
YMRMFSPA Lawrence Marshall or
Chris Wormley, eventually
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Ace.
Notes Twitter. Florida decommit. Early enrollee. Son of Regan Upshaw.


Senior (just his first three games):

The story of the large man who decides to football and finds out he's a large man good at football is one almost as old as time itself. This is Taylor Upshaw's story:

What one can't see in that first tape is that Upshaw had never played a single down of football before this summer. He played baseball and lacrosse growing up, and varsity basketball as a freshman and a sophomore.

"I wasn't very good at the other sports and I decided to give football a shot," he said.

That's all very standard until you get to the part where his dad Regan played nine years in the NFL. Upshaw the younger put on pads for the first time as a junior; he got a USF offer a week later. A hell of a lot of other folks followed despite Upshaw's underwhelming stats that year: 18 tackles, 4 PBUs, TFLs and sacks not mentioned.

That didn't dissuade Florida, which offered him in May after that underwhelming first season and accepted a commitment from him. Michigan followed up with an offer of their own in late October, when it had become clear that Jim McElwain was a dead man walking and Michigan's sprint to the early signing day was going to be more of a slog. That context rather depresses expectations. Usually "Florida decommit" is a recruit with some juice; here he was picked up by an embattled regime that recruited far under Florida's usual standards and then flipped by a program experiencing an alarming drought.

That's not to say Upshaw is doomed. But this is a shot in the dark recruit. The recruiting takes reflect that; Upshaw is a capital-D Developmental Prospect. Ask Upshaw himself:

“I have a long way to go,” Upshaw said. “I wouldn’t even say I’m close. I just have to continue to get better. But they’re going to develop me.”

Upshaw did improve his stats significantly as a senior, getting up to 33 tackles and 7 TFLs; those are still a far cry from the downright silly numbers most P5 DEs put up against future yogurt marketers in high school.

[After THE JUMP: scouting! sort of!]

The scouting takes, scanty as they are, reflect this. Corey Bender:

"...top-notch size ...raw in regards to go-to moves in the trenches, but is an intriguing athlete who shows active hands and a strong motor. ...flashes quickness at the snap ... high-upside type of prospect who takes to coaching very well. The best has yet to come for Upshaw, who shows decent awareness for someone who has only been playing the sport for a couple of years."

Rob Cassidy:

"Upshaw's raw power isn’t in doubt ... has enough speed to close on most high school quarterbacks and shows impressive athleticism as well. ... better getting after the quarterback than he is against the run."

Brandon Brown caught up with Upshaw coach, who provided some detail:

"He’s about 6-5 and he’s long levered. He’s extremely athletic and has a great body control. I think the sky is the limit as far as his ability on the football field. ... He was definitely learning on the fly and learning to play with pad level and then had a great offseason.

"Anytime you’re 6-5 and haven’t played a lot of football, pad level is going to be something that you kind of learn as you go," Bradley explained. "It’s not natural to be that tall and play as low as possible. ... There are many fine, technical aspects of playing defensive line that he’s still learning. Hand placement and those types of things that he’ll get better at as he gets into college and gets better, more complete coaching."

Touch the Banner:

...fairly thick lower body with long legs and plenty of room to grow in his upper body. ... nice chop move to knock blockers off balance, and he locks out blockers well. ...slow and tentative out of his stance. He stands up too high and is a little stiff-legged. He does not play with a sense of urgency and seems to be a split second slow to react.

Par for the course for a guy who just walked onto a football field two years ago.

Upshaw enrolled early and uh... had not yet caught Don Brown's eye by the time Brown was put in front of the media:

How have your two early-enrollees looked so far?

“Uh, Myles Sims? Had a big play today. Not out of place. ... really happy with him. Tremendously happy. You asking me about Joe Milton?”

Taylor Upshaw.

Reminded of Upshaw's existence, Brown said Upshaw was "young, fast, athletic, and willing" and needed several metric tons of cheeseburgers. Greg Mattison, his position coach, was better able to relate how his new charge was doing. Developmental remains the theme:


"I mean he can run now, and this was a young man that was a basketball player and a baseball player. He played football maybe one year. He came here mid-term knowing no one, and has blended right in. The sky is the limit for him. I think he’s going to be a really really outstanding player as he gets the football part of it and that’s what the spring will be all about for him. He will be an anchor end.”

Even if he stays at anchor he's got 30-50 pounds to put on before he tops out, which will take a couple years. There are some conflicting quotes out there about his eventual destination; his coach said he could end up a DE or DT and that Michigan didn't really know:

“He might be a chiseled 260-lb. defensive end, or he might blow up into a 290-lb. defensive tackle,” said Bradley. You just never know. But college weight programs will do a lot of good things for him.

“He’s just a big athlete,” Bradley later added. “(Michigan’s coaches) don’t really know where he’s going to be. Is he going to be an interior guy, an exterior guy? Coach Brown up there, the defensive coordinator, can do a lot of great things with a lot of good players so. I’m sure they’ll find a spot for him without a doubt.”

On the other hand you have the Mattison quote above and a 24/7 article in which Upshaw says the coaches "don't see me as an inside guy" and that they're talking about WDE or SDE long term. I lean more towards former. Either way it'll be a minute before we hear about Upshaw again. p

Etc.: Carries a 3.9 GPA and uses words like "squirrelly" in interviews. Life comes at you fast. September:

Upshaw moving forward with no regrets ...

On the one month anniversary of his commitment to Florida, Bradenton (Fla.) Braden River defensive end Taylor Upshaw says he has had no such issues. No buyer's remorse. No indecision or regret whatsoever.


Upshaw remains solid as a rock


Florida commit Upshaw flips to Michigan

Why Marshall/Wormley? Two different paths for a question mark player: Marshall, who keeps bulking up and keeps finding himself down the depth chart as a guy who's not really a DE and not really a DT. Wormley, who was an anchor end/three tech swing guy with great bulk and TE crushing ability.

Guru Reliability: Moderate. Total agreement, healthy player, not their fault dude is a walking question mark.

Variance: Very high. It would not be a surprise if Upshaw never saw the field; it would not be a surprise if he was a solid starter.

Ceiling: High. I mean, his dad played in the NFL for nine years.

General Excitement Level: Moderate. Boom or bust prospect was a solid gamble to make once Michigan got to scramble mode, but scramble mode sucks.

Projection: Upshaw is almost certain to redshirt, what with his background and frame. Playing time in his second year is deeply unlikely; check back in 2020 to see whether Michigan's developed their raw clay into a player.



June 28th, 2018 at 4:02 PM ^

General excitement level is right on par for him. He is a boom or a bust player.  If he's a bust nothing really lost with what we have on DL. If he's a boom then great another weapon to use.


June 28th, 2018 at 4:27 PM ^

NFL dad x athleticism x Matty x Herbert makes me think boom is the favorite over bust. Sure it would be more promising to have, like, Eyabi Anoma but as late pickups during a 'crootin lull go this is about as good as it gets. 

Between Upshaw and Juice the athletic 20 year old German I think we see at least one 3* All-B1G/NFL dude. 


June 28th, 2018 at 5:04 PM ^

Yup, I'm going with the gene pool on this one. Tried multiple sports, humble enough to admit he didn't excel at them, but has physical traits that can't be coached into a player .

We've got the PERFECT group to get at the very least a disruptive situational pass rusher out of this player ('16 version Winovich comes to mind) . 

And you can't really ever have too many of those!


June 28th, 2018 at 4:40 PM ^

Watched film and expected to be underwhelmed.  That kid is big, is an athlete, and can move.  If he has the want-to I think he'll be a good player.  Could be very good. 


June 28th, 2018 at 5:04 PM ^

I feel like not playing football until mid-high school could be a smart decision for a lot of kids with potential.  You hone your athletic skills in other lower-contact sports, then switch to football later to avoid all those head injuries during your brain's most important development.  


June 28th, 2018 at 8:11 PM ^

From Dad Regan's Wiki page:

"(Regan) Upshaw, who did not play football until his sophomore year at Pittsburg HS (CA), was a Parade All-America as a senior. He chose the University of California and by his junior year was named All-American."

Interesting they were both late starters - Dad's rise was meteoric.  Taylor seems cut from same mold in terms of size / body type ... seems like a good boom / bust gamble guy.


June 29th, 2018 at 10:15 AM ^

He has a face that I associate with a smoker from the 1970's.   You know the hardened police detective who takes a drag before squinting and telling you who did it, or the friendly salesman on his break, or Billy Dee playing poker in his club.   This is in no way a dis.  Those guys were cool.