IE Take: Taylor Decker

Taylor Decker became the second member of Notre Dame's recruiting class for 2012 last week. Here is Irish Eyes' take on the newest member of the Class of 2012.

It was no surprise to see Taylor Decker give Notre Dame his verbal pledge late last week. Decker, who listed the Irish high for several months, knew the combination of academics and athletics made South Bend the perfect place to continue his development.

What To Like The first thing that stands out when you look at Taylor Decker is his length. Go through the list of top offensive line prospects and look at how many have the overall length to match the 6-foot-8 frame Decker has. Brian Kelly has always trusted Paul Longo to take players with length and get the most out of their physical abilities. Decker will be no different, as Longo will look to get the Ohio native stronger in the Irish strength program.

Decker has the tools to become a player who could develop into an NFL draft choice in the coming years. There is work that needs to be done; however, Decker has played solid competition in high school and solid development each of the past two years.

What May Concern You Two things many will look at as negatives when talking about Taylor Decker. The first is his height, as some will feel he will be too tall to develop into a top offensive tackle. The second is his lack of strength in the bench press. Let us look at both areas.

Height: Look at the list of Top 20 offensive tackles in this year NFL Draft. Ten of the twenty stands at least 6-foot-7 with three standing Decker's height of 6-foot-8.

Low Bench Press: Do not expect high school players with the arm length of Taylor Decker to be weight lifting champions. Most of the top players when it comes to the bench are compact type players. Decker is not compact at 6-foot-8. This area will develop as Taylor works fulltime in the weight room and matures in the next couple of years.

Bottom Line Some have expressed Taylor is a project and may not provide much until his fourth year in the program. I have to disagree at this time with that thought process as I have watched Taylor develop the past couple of years. Do I expect Taylor to come right in and play? No, but I do feel he will enter Notre Dame ahead of where Tate Nichols entered. Decker will have some major growth once he gets on campus and should report to Notre Dame at 300-pounds.


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