Taylor Plans To Be On Tide Defense

Prior to Signing Day, almost every recruiting report on of Alphonse Taylor had the Mobile Davidson football star listed as an offensive line prospect. Those reports also listed him at 340 pounds. Taylor, who has already enrolled for the spring semester at Alabama, had corrections for both reports.

Alphonse Taylor signed with Alabama on Feb. 1, but had already been enrolled at The Capstone for several weeks. Because some reports listed him as a possible defensive prospect, he was asked about his position.

"I'm playing nose guard," he said. Taylor is a man who seems to have plans made.

Asked if there had been some negotiation by Crimson Tide offensive and defensive coaches to get him, Taylor said, "I have no idea. All I know is that I came here to play nose guard and be a part of this great defense."

Taylor's not looking for a short cut to playing time. He said being in the mix at nose tackle is "not necessarily" the fastest route up the depth chart. "Whatever position you play, you're going to have to compete," he said. "Nothing is given to you in this life."

Scout.com ranked Taylor as a four-star prospect, but also had him on the offensive side, 31st in the nation as an offensive tackle.

Taylor was not a sure thing for Alabama. He first announced for Florida State, but said even before he committed to the Seminoles he was thinking he needed to evaluate the situation.

"I couldn't settle with the decision," he said of his commitment to FSU. "I felt that staying at home, staying in state and close to home, would be the best place for me. Not to take anything away from Florida State, because they are a great program, and I really appreciate the opportunity, but playing for Alabama was the best fit for me.

"It's The University of Alabama. I'm from Mobile, Alabama, so why not come here to play football and be a part of the tradition, a part of the in-town heroes."

Taylor also clarified his size. "I'm 6-6, 360 right now," he said. "I'm heavy. I need to get down. I'm not sure (to where), but I'm going to get down."

Taylor and other Tide players who enrolled early at The University have already become familiar with the man who will help them reach ideal playing weights, Strength and Conditioning Coach Scott Cochran.

"Oh, man," said Taylor with a shake of his head. "That guy is intense. He's intense. He does some of the craziest workouts ever. He's very intense, but that's what you have to expect out of one of the top programs in the nation. You have to expect to come in and be pushed. That's what you want – to be pushed to be better. He's great at what he does."

Taylor said on the first day with Cochran, "Honestly, I almost died. But since then it's been great. It's been fun. I'm just enjoying the experience because if you look at it like, ‘Oh, man, I've got to come in and work out every day,' you're not going to survive. You have to look at it like, ‘I have another day to get better. I have another chance to improve myself.' That's how I started looking at it from day one."

"There's never a day we slack off. We go in every day and work hard, get pushed every day. And every day we want to be better than we were yesterday."

That was his motivation for early enrollment. "I wanted to get in quick, get healthy, get in shape, learn the system, and get an upper hand on the other freshmen coming in. I wanted to get in early on the competition."

He said he has not been surprised by his early college experience. "You get up every day, go to class and work hard, and work hard in the weight room. You need to get better every day, because you don't stay the same. You either get better or you get worse. So I wake up every day and hope to get better."

Can this be another legendary Alabama defense?

"That's what I'm planning on," Taylor said.

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