San Diego (Calif.) St. Augustine junior defensive back Isaac Taylor-Stuart has quickly emerged as one of the West Coast’s hottest recruits. His offer list now stands at 26, and more suitors are knocking at the door. The boon in interest comes on the heels of a junior campaign that put his versatility on full display.
"This was my first time playing offense in high school football,” Taylor-Stuart said. “We made it to the state championship but we lost in the final seconds."
"I had about 48 tackles, two sacks, one interception, 13 pass deflections and 700 rushing yards, 100 receiving yards, and 500 kick return yards with 11 touchdowns."
All that offensive success hasn’t changed Taylor-Stuart’s positional preference. He knows is bread is buttered at the cornerback spot. Corners that stand 6-2, 188 lbs. and can run a 4.43 don’t grow on trees. That’s why several of the nation’s top programs have been ratcheting up the intensity of their respective pursuits.
Said, Taylor-Stuart, "the schools I've been talking to the most that are sticking out to me are Michigan, Alabama, USC, Oregon, Penn State, Nebraska."
The Wolverines are no strangers in Taylor-Stuart’s recruitment, but they are among the new kids on the block on his offer list.
"My first time talking to Michigan was last year in June,” recalled Taylor-Stuart. “I talked to Coach (Jay) Harbaugh. He went to St. Augustine, and that's the school I'm at right now. He talked about how different it is now because they were in trailers when he was there because it was under construction. Then on February 5th Coach Harbaugh told me to hit him up for some special news. He asked me how my day was going and I said it was great. He said, so what if I told you we were offering you a full ride scholarship? Would that make your day better?’ I was like, ‘yes, coach! That's a perfect day right there. We just had a nice talk and everything.’"
Since then it has been evident to the Golden State star that he is one of the top prospects on the Maize & Blue board. Harbaugh has led the contact charge, but was recently joined in the effort by Taylor-Stuart’s would-be position coach, Mike Zordich
"I talked to the DB coach (Wednesday),” he said. “He was talking about grades and all that, I'm supposed to take the SAT writing one and he was talking about my game saying how fast I was and how high I am on their board."
Before long the headman himself will likely become a consistent part of delivering that message. When that happens the Michigan could quickly rise up the talented youngster’s list.
"I'm a 49ers fan so Coach Harbaugh was my favorite coach,” said Taylor-Stuart. “I enjoyed watching him in the NFL and he has a nice little swag that he's bringing to the Michigan program."
Getting Taylor-Stuart to Ann Arbor to witness that swag first hand appears to be one of Michigan’s top recruiting priorities. No dates have been discussed yet, but it’s a trip he hopes to schedule after he whittles his list down to a more manageable number. One thing he insists won’t keep him away is distance.
"Distance from home doesn't really matter,” Taylor-Stuart responded when asked if proximity would factor into his decision. “It's earth. It doesn't matter. When I get older I'm going to travel around the world, so it's just going to be another step in life."
Using the recruiting process to broaden his horizons is one of Taylor-Stuart’s stated goals. His boyhood affinity for USC and Oregon initially made the idea of committing early to one of those schools appealing. His mind quickly shifted, though, and now he plans to look all over the country for as long as it takes to find the best possible fit.
"I want to major in marketing, so (the school) has to (prepare me for) a future if I major in marketing,” he said. “Have a plan (for) if I don't make it to the NFL. That's the most important part."
"I'm going to try to (make a decision) in December or the beginning of January so I can have time to take my official visits and things like that."