Taylor Decker, a massive 6'8" 268 pound offensive tackle, comes from a little known Butler High School program in Vandalia (OH). That hasn't stopped him from putting in the effort for a strong junior season.
"I would describe it as I'm a big athletic kid that plays with a mean streak and loves to finish my blocks and put kids down," Decker told GoBlueWolverine. "Personally I thought from my sophomore to junior year I got a lot bigger weight wise and strength wise. I just worked on my techniques more. As a team we got a little bit better, we only went 4-6. But the games we lost we didn't get blown out like we did the previous year. Our program is getting better. We haven't had great years in the past. Me personally, I thought it was a great year for me. I'm hoping through me playing well maybe my other teammates can get some looks from colleges as well."
That strong of a season certainly got the attention of some high level FBS schools, and led to a handful of offers early in the 2012 recruiting year, including the likes of the Wolverines.
"Currently I have five offers," Decker reported. "I have one from Wisconsin, Boston College, West Virginia, Cincinnati and Michigan of course. I am scheduled to go down to Northwestern and my high school coach told me that once I get there they'll offer me as that is kind of their policy. I'm hoping sometime soon I'll get one from Notre Dame, but they want to do their recruiting thing how they want to do it and I completely respect that, but I'm hoping to visit most of these schools I have offers from."
The Maize and Blue interest didn't perk up until the Wolverines new staff took over in Ann Arbor. After that, the interest exploded and coming to a head with a scholarship offer.
"I didn't get a lot of interest until Coach Hoke came. I actually knew Coach Smith through my school. I talked to him, he's a great guy and I love talking to him. Coach Bush gave him my highlight tape and a few weeks later coach came and got me out of class and had me call Coach Smith and talk to him for a little bit and he said they wanted to offer me and they thought I was one of the better lineman they had seen on film. I actually got to talk to Coach Funk that same day, and he's the offensive line coach, and he seemed to really like my playing style which I was really excited about. I also got to talk to Coach Hoke and he's coming down to my school and I'm excited to get up there for a visit because they seem as excited about me as I am about them."
For Decker, the Wolverine offer carried a lot of weight and still excites him as his process continues.
"I thought it was awesome. Especially because the new staff just got there and I know they have to get some things settled and they still thought I made a big enough impact to go ahead and offer me. It was really big for me. It's a big time school and one of the best programs there is. Even though I'm an Ohio guy, I'm not biased at all and I think it's a great program and I'm really excited about."
Hailing from Ohio, especially over the last few years, it's no wonder most kids in the Buckeye State grow up with an affinity for the Scarlet and Gray, and Decker is no different. It won't, however, affect his recruitment.
"I've been a die-hard Buckeye fan since I was a kid," Decker admitted. "But in being recruited, I've realized from talking to my dad that I can't be biased. I love the University of Michigan and what they have to offer for me if that's where I end up. Me being a Buckeye fan growing up isn't going to affect my decision at all. I'm going to be open with all of the schools that have interest in me."
Showing that statement to be the truth, Decker will trip to Ann Arbor for an early spring visit with the Wolverines.
"Actually, I'm scheduled to go up there on March 19th. I just talked to Coach Smith too, and hoping I can get down to a padded practice too. March 19th is their first practice and it isn't padded. I'm hoping to get down to a padded practice as well to see what that's like."
Decker has previously been in Ann Arbor, but will be looking for a little bit more this time around.
"I have actually to a game against Iowa the previous season. But that was before Coach Hoke was there. I know for one that my parents will stress academics and a strong institution. I want to be able to play when I get there. I know I'm probably not going to start as a freshman, but I want to be able to get some playing time in. I love coaches, so that's one thing I want, coaches I get along with really well. And campuses, I've been to a few campuses that I don't really like and I want to enjoy my time."
Though still early in the process, Decker already has a short list of schools making a strong early impression upon his recruitment.
"As of right now my top five, not in any particular order, are Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Michigan and Northwestern. And again, those aren't in any particular order. Those are the ones I've gotten heavy interest from and I'm very interested in them as well."
Even with a short list, it won't be until late summer that Decker will be ready to make a decision, and when that time comes, it will be sans the glitz and glamour.
"I'm definitely going to wait until I know which college is best for me. I was talking to some of my coaches and I want to get it done before my season starts, but you know, looking at some of the schools coming on, as the process goes on it seems like it's getting harder and harder. I'm imagining, if not August, sometime in September. If I have to take my official visits, I will. But I have a checklist of what I want and feel like where I fit best. I'm not going to be a TV guy or an All-American guy, I'll just tell the school."
OH OT Decker Talks Michigan Offer, Visit
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