Cordele, Ga.--A chance to play in the SEC, especially with the circumstances he sees with the 2016 Auburn football team, prompted Marshall Taylor to pick the Tigers as his final college destination.
“I believe in what Coach (Gus) Malzahn has got going on and the defensive linemen are going to be crazy, sick this year and a good defensive line helps the defensive backs,” said Taylor, who is expected to play cornerback and nickel for the Tigers this fall as a graduate transfer student.
“Mon Adams is from five minutes from my high school,” he said of the senior Auburn defensive tackle. “Just watching him play, and watching Carl Lawson play, they are freaks of nature and they are going to get pressure on the quarterbacks to help me. I can help them by covering up the receivers so they have that extra second they may need to get the sack. It is like a mutually beneficial relationship.”
Those aren’t the only factors that prompted Taylor to chose the Tigers after playing three seasons at Miami of Ohio and spending another fall there as a redshirt.
A chance to test himself in the SEC is a big reason for making the move to Auburn. “It is the best conference the United States has to offer a collegiate athlete,” said Taylor, who noted that he has ambitions to play after college.
At six-foot-two and 200 pounds, he said he has the size pro scouts are looking for at cornerback and he hopes to get his shot in the NFL. “That has always been my dream since I started playing ball because I don’t come from a wealthy family,” he said.
“I want to make this happen to help make money for my family because they have provided the opportunity for me to be here where I am now,” he explained. “I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Yet another factor in choosing Auburn over Louisville, where he visited last weekend, and Michigan State and Florida, where he was scheduled to visit, is the person who will be his position coach at Auburn.
Malzahn hired Wesley McGriff away from the New Orleans Saints to coach the secondary.
“I knew Coach Crimedog when I was in high school and he was at Vandy,” Taylor points out. “That was a big factor, too. He just came from the Saints so it is obvious he knows what to look for and what the NFL scouts are looking for. He can teach me those things to get me prepared for the next level.
“At Auburn I can come in and compete for the SEC Championship and the national championship because Coach Malzahn has been to two national championships in the last five years,” Taylor added. “I can’t think of any other coach you can say that about except for Coach Saban (Nick Saban of Alabama).”
Marshall Taylor's hometown is just several hours from Auburn by car.
A player who was a standout in both football and basketball at Crisp County High in Cordele, Ga., Taylor said it is a plus to be playing his final season of college football not too far from home. Family members, including his mother Rosie Taylor, made the trip to the AU campus this weekend for his official visit.
“They showed my family a good time and that was a factor,” he said. “From the moment I got to Auburn they showed me so much hospitality, it just felt right--so right.”
Taylor said the success that Blake Countess had last season at Auburn as a graduate transfer defensive back from Michigan got his attention.
“Not only did he play, he was named defensive MVP,” Taylor pointed out. “They told me another graduate transfer, (linebacker) T.J. Neal, is coming in from Illinois to do the same thing so I?have somebody to go through it with. He will be feeling the same things I will be feeling.”
Scheduled to graduate from Miami of Ohio on May 15th, he is expected to report to Auburn soon after that and enroll for classes.
“My degree is in sports management and I have got a minor in gerontology,” Taylor pointed out. “My Grandma Dorothy made a big impact on me when I was younger and I?gained a love for the all elderly people. I want to help them because they get taken advantage of quite a bit.”
Taylor said he realizes there will be serious competition for playing time at Auburn even though one of the starting cornerbacks, Jonathan Jones, must be replaced.
“They didn’t guarantee me a spot, but I feel like I am talented enough to earn it,” he said. “I feel like I?am talented enough to get on the field. I will let my ability speak for itself. I feel like I will have a good chance if I come in and play how I know to play I should be on the field.”