Hello: Garrett Taylor

Submitted by Ace on March 24th, 2014 at 12:31 PM


via 247Sports

After going without a commit since November, Michigan reeled in a big one today when four-star Richmond (VA) St. Christopher's CB Garrett Taylor announced his pledge to the Wolverines on Twitter. It appeared Taylor favored Stanford as recently as a month ago, but a subsequent Michigan offer and campus visit—which he called the best of any he'd taken—sealed it for the Maize and Blue.

Taylor is the fifth overall commit in the 2015 class and the third defensive back, joining CB Shaun Crawford and S Tyree Kinnel.

[So as not to step all over the basketball post, hit THE JUMP for the informative portion.]

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
4*, #36 CB,
#282 Ovr
4*, #6 CB,
#41 Ovr
4*, 82, #7 CB,
#73 Ovr
4*, 96, #6 CB,
#79 Ovr
4*, #8 CB,
#93 Ovr

Taylor is well within the top 100 on every service except Scout, which places him near the end of their top 300 list. His other rankings are remarkably consistent—he's either the sixth- or seventh-best corner in the country, with Rivals feeling more bullish on that position group as a whole than ESPN or 247.

Taylor also has the smallest range in listed size of any recruit I can remember: all four sites list him at 6'1" and either 187 or 188 pounds. Given the consistent listing, that's probably a very accurate figure.

SCOUTING

Continuing the trend among recent Michigan cornerback commits, Taylor is big and physical, which is the main focus of his free Scout evaluation:

STRENGTHS
 Instincts
 Size
 Tackling Ability
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT
 Backpedal Quickness
 Hip Flexibility

Taylor is a physical corner with good size and instincts. He does a nice job of reading the quarterback's eyes and has good ball skills. Taylor also does a good job of shedding blocks and is very good in run support. Overall, Taylor has a lot of natural ability. He could play either cornerback or safety at the next level. - Michael Clark

Scout lists weaknesses that would preclude Taylor from being a lockdown corner, which is odd, since that seems to be his reputation just about everywhere else. Here's VirginiaPreps on Taylor's Rivals Camp showing in Richmond heading into his junior season ($):

Leading the way among secondary players from the rising junior class is St. Christopher's Garrett Taylor who showed why he is so highly regarded at the event exhibiting a great break on the ball on out patterns without falling prey to the out-and-up routes.  Put simply, he's a beast.  When he was beat on a route, it was usually to the inside on slant routes but, often times, it wasn't a fault of him getting to the ball, it was a matter of a receiver running nearly all the way across the field with no pass rush pressing the quarterbacks to throw.  His technique is impeccable and he showed a willingness to battle from the snap of the ball until the pass hit the turf.  The Saints' star plays with good instincts, timing and anticipation, qualities that separated him from others at the event, at times.   

The praise for his instincts is consistent with other evaluations. ESPN's insider evaluation is in agreement with VirginiaPreps regarding Taylor's hips, though they note he could be quicker with his feet ($):

STRENGTHS: Possesses excellent height and weight for the corner position at this stage. If he continues to grow over the next few years, he might develop into a safety. Instinctive and doesn't get out of position much. Will take direct angles to the football. Displays very good ball skills. Flips his hips well for a taller corner and can turn and run stride for stride with faster receivers. Shows very good makeup speed. A dominant run and pass perimeter defender. ... AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: A bit more playing strength and foot quickness would help his development. Shows some wasted motion and some tension in transition at times. ... BOTTOM LINE: Taylor is a physically impressive athlete at the corner position. Very good tackler in defending the run and is a faster closer in zone coverage. A top prospect who looks to be an early contributor at the next level.

When the Areas of Improvement section begins with "a bit more..." that usually means you've got a very well-rounded prospect; at that point, they're picking nits, and it's reflected in his high ranking.

All this talent shows up on game day; here's Rivals's Adam Friedman breaking down Taylor's performance against top junior receiver Scott Bracey, who already holds offers from Michigan, Ohio State, and many other top schools:

Taylor was the best player on the field on Saturday. At cornerback, he made seven tackles and had one tackle for a loss. Taylor also had the most difficult matchup on defense, guarding 2016 standout wide receiver Scott Bracey. Taylor held Bracey to only a few catches for minimal yardage, and on one play, a deep pass down the sideline late in the game, Taylor tipped the ball away from Bracey on a jump ball. Taylor also scored St. Christopher's only touchdown on a 9-yard catch.

Based on reports—as well as his junior highlights—this was one of the few games last season when an opponent even dared to throw his way. At the high school level, at least, he's a lockdown corner; add that to the physicality, size, and instincts that come in for praise at every turn, and it looks like Michigan got a very good prospect.

OFFERS

Taylor's lengthy offer sheet includes Clemson, LSU, Miami (YTM), Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Penn State, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, among several others.

HIGH SCHOOL

St. Christopher's is a VISAA Division I school that's historically more likely to produce a D-I lacrosse or baseball player than a high-level football recruit. Prior to the 2015 class, only two former Saints (creative mascot, guys) had earned a three-star ranking in the Rivals era: 2011 DE Thompson Brown and 2013 DE Jack English, who both ended up at Virginia. The school has two four-star recruits in the 2015 class alone, however; in addition to Taylor, linebacker Ricky DeBerry—247's #5 OLB with offers from seemingly everywhere but Michigan—is on the current team.

STATS

As mentioned previously, Taylor's junior year numbers went down because teams avoided him, per the VaPreps Private All-State team:

Garrett Taylor is a shutdown corner who took on the opposing teams best receiver every week. He finished second on St Christopher with 35 solo tackles. His interceptions dropped from 4 to 1 this year as teams avoided the Rivals 4-star recruit like the plague.

According to his Scout profile, Taylor recorded 24 tackles and four picks as a sophomore, while adding 14 catches for 265 yards and two touchdowns as a receiver.

FAKE 40 TIME

247 is the only site to list a 40 time: 4.5-flat, which gets three FAKEs out of five because of the lack of any apparent source.

VIDEO

Junior highlights:

Taylor's sophomore reel contains more footage of opponents throwing the ball his way, including an ill-fated Wilton Speight attempt at the 0:30 mark:

Single-game cut-ups, as usual, can be found on Taylor's Hudl page.

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

Despite his relative college-readiness, Taylor should be afforded the opportunity to develop behind some upperclassmen given Michigan's current depth chart at corner. When he arrives, the Wolverines should have seniors Blake Countess and Terry Richardson, juniors Jourdan Lewis and Channing Stribling, sophomores Reon Dawson and Jabrill Peppers, and redshirt freshman Brandon Watson occupying the two-deep.

With his size and tackling ability, Taylor looks like a boundary corner to me—or a safety, which could be the bigger need, depending upon the development of the class and current roster. That would give Michigan two excellent tackling corners in the class; fellow commit Shaun Crawford also brings the wood.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

Taylor is Michigan's fifth commit in the class, and right now there's room for just seven more, though that number is almost certain to grow. Michigan still has a need for a quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, offensive tackle, defensive end, and outside linebacker ... there's your seven scholarships, though as noted the class should grow and the Wolverines could afford to add depth at a few more spots (the notion of taking just two OL scares me, for one).

Comments

AdamBomb

March 24th, 2014 at 12:47 PM ^

Who cares if it's noon??? Have one for me, too! I'll have one tonight, wish I could have one now...

 

The secondary is shaping up to be a good one, filled with talent (lots). It's going to be nice to have a good secondary, I kinda forgot what that's like...

Bodogblog

March 24th, 2014 at 12:37 PM ^

That's two rr's and two tt's people.  Big time kid with a hell of an offer list.  The fact that he loved AA as much as he did helps me understand him (because he thinks like me) - it's such a great town, with such a great school and football program.

(*program note: everyone make sure to head back to the original thread and neg moleskyn)

WolvinLA2

March 24th, 2014 at 12:41 PM ^

Damn our D backfield will be good for a while.  I like this pick up because this is likely our last DB commit in the class - we currently have a true corner (Crawford), a true safety (Kinnel) and now a guy who could play either.  That's about perfect.  It also makes Taylor a good fit for the nickel spot early on.

I dumped the Dope

March 24th, 2014 at 12:59 PM ^

Welcome Garrett!  I hope that all the competition from these talents in the backfield ups the level of everyone's play.

Great pickup, I can sort of see the wheels turning a little bit that we are starting to pull some recruits out of VA, I hope that future recruits continue to follow in the present players' and recruits' footsteps.

I hope that the drought is now over, the small number of players taken is seeming to hold back the volume of hello posts, but I also take some small solace that (correct me if wrong) this is the first committment post-Harris and post-Campbell.  Those two decomits seemed to throw the needle off the record a little bit.  I suppose it could be chalked up to simple timing but that's the way I perceive it...that it put a little doubt in other recruits' minds, couple with last year's rushing attack and well, you can see how that would affect a recruit.

One last thing, apparently Taylor was blown off the ball by our academic presentation...over Stanford!!  That's very cool, the academic side is certainly doing their part to aid the athletic side.  I would probably add in that it's a lot closer to his family home than Stanford, this may make some difference too.

Maybe this will put the heat on Fitzpatrick?  Can't say for sure but I'm guessing the staff would find a way.

alum96

March 24th, 2014 at 2:49 PM ^

Bird in hand.

You dont turn down a top 100 players for a 1 in 15 chance or whatever it is for a top 10.  Its different than say Harris who has been a UM commit / was a lean. 

No one knows how these rankings end up - Taylor could be way better, the same, or worse in 3 years than Fitzpatrick.  You have a prime time high end 4 star who wants to come to you - you take him.  The rest plays itself out.

WolvinLA2

March 24th, 2014 at 3:59 PM ^

Agreed, especially because there's not a huge separation between Taylor and Fitzpatrick in the rankings, and could be even smaller in the coaches' eyes. Fitzpatrick is the #4 ranked CB in the composite, while Crawford is 7 and Taylor is 8. The fact that we got any two from that group is awesome. I'm not saying we don't accept Fitzpatrick's commitment if he wants to come here, but that is now a luxury, and we can probably stop recruiting any non-Fitzpatrick DB.

Bocheezu

March 24th, 2014 at 1:11 PM ^

Very Jake Ryan-esque in shedding the block.  Good instincts and doesn't shy away from contact.  Doesn't look like he'd have any trouble bulking up and playing safety if they needed him to.