One of the earliest schools to show interest in Richmond (Va.) St. Christopher’s CB Garrett Taylor was the University of Michigan. Brady Hoke dropped by the 2015 standout’s school last winter, then passed the recruiting baton to Roy Manning shortly after hiring him as an assistant. After courting Taylor vigorously for a few months the intensity of Michigan’s pursuit soon leveled off. From that point on the Wolverines appeared to be an afterthought in Taylor’s recruitment. That changed abruptly last week when seemingly out of nowhere the Maize & Blue extended him a scholarship offer.
“I was truly excited,” Taylor said. “I think the thing that was holding them back the most was their ’14 class. (Manning) was saying ’15 class like really small relative to their past classes. They had to see how many DBs they were going to sign in their ’14 class and how much room they had in the ’15 class. Once they kind of sorted that all out, they came back around and were able to offer me a scholarship.”
Typically prospects drop schools down their list when courtship level is below that of his other suitors. That didn’t happen in this case because of Taylor’s relationship with Manning.
“Coach Manning and I are real cool,” he said. “When I first started talking to him I would call almost every night or so and we would talk for almost about an hour each time. He is just a real down-to-earth guy. He is a football coach, but that is not all he cares about. He asks me about my mom and my dad every time we see speak. I really hit it off well with him. He is a real down-to-earth guy. He is cool, he is funny. We really have a cool connection. I like him a lot. I’m glad he is my recruiting coach.”
Michigan’s newly anointed cornerbacks coach hopes to strengthen that relationship even further by spending some face-time with him during a campus visit.
“(Manning) definitely mentioned that he felt that coming out some time in the spring would be good,” reported Taylor. “Maybe for the spring practices and maybe a spring game. He said I could get up preferably on the weekend so I can spend a lot of time with him and Coach Hoke and talk defensive schemes, things that they do, and talk academics.“
Taylor will also be able to get the player perspective from a former opponent and friend, current Michigan freshman signal caller Wilton Speight.
“I have talked to him a couple of times and approached him about just getting out there and seeing it for what it is,” he stated. “It’s funny because I guess he saw on twitter saw that I got an offer and he texted me within like five minutes or so. He was like, ‘come for a visit!’ It was pretty funny. He said he would be my host.”
Those connections are in part responsible for helping the Wolverines quickly vault up the four-star corner’s list. He hasn’t yet settled on a group favorites, but when he does Michigan almost certainly will be on it.
“I know a few schools have begun to stick out, and I am currently in the process of trying to narrow down the list a little bit so that I can kind of focus on schools I’m interested in,” he said. “But, a few schools (that have begun to stick out), not in any particular order are Tennessee, Michigan State, Vanderbilt, Stanford, Michigan now since they have offered is definitely on that list, and South Carolina is another school.”
“Hopefully by the end of this spring I will have my list down so that I can really focus my time this summer and really be efficient with my visits and who I talk to. I still feel like I want to take a few (visits) while I am in the process of narrowing it down, but if I take any more visits before I officially have my list, it is going to be schools that will make that final cut.”
To date Taylor has already taken visits to Stanford, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina. That shows that interest in any of the 29 programs that have offer him scholarship offers won’t be limited by distance. There are other criteria that will weigh much more heavily.
“I think the biggest factor for me is going to be what they offer in terms of academics as well as athletics,” Taylor said. “That combination of the two is really important for not only me, but also my family. I think when you look at it the main goal for me is to reach the NFL and have a long career in the NFL. Obviously things can come in the way of that. I pray to God that they don’t, but I just want to be able to have something to fall back on (like) a very valid and well-respected degree around the country so that I can go out and get a job and really use my college degree to an advantage. That is definitely the big thing for me and what we are looking at and considering.”