4-star ATH takes in Notre Dame

Four-star athlete A.J. Taylor returned to Notre Dame on Wednesday for a closer look. Despite not landing an offer, Taylor considered the Irish visit a successful end to his Midwest swing.

A.J. Taylor capped off a three-school tour of Midwest programs on Wednesday with another productive visit.

Notre Dame hosted the four-star athlete from Kansas City for its first spring practice. Taylor previously visited campus last summer for the Irish Invasion. This time around offered a glimpse at the future.

“I really enjoyed the practice because it was just a fast paced practice,” Taylor said. “Everybody was constantly moving and when they weren’t moving they were going real hard. We got to really see what college ball as like. I got to check out the running backs and see how they fit into the whole Notre Dame offense and all that. I could see they kinda run the pro-spread style.”

Taylor zeroed in on the running backs in particular with returning contributors Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston taking center stage this spring. Running backs coach Autry Denson started his tenure on staff in front of Taylor and family.

“I saw that the running backs kind of play the position as in sometimes they could go out as a receiver when they needed to,” Taylor said. “They did a lot of receiving kind of routes. I also saw them running the ball, like a pro-style, running down hill. I thought that was neat. Coach Denson, he was really nice to watch because he’s new. He’s been there for two weeks but it seemed like he’s been there for a few months. They’re just clicking.”

Taylor talked with Denson later and also met with associate head coach Mike Denbrock and defensive line coach Keith Gilmore, his new area recruiter with Bob Elliott having shifted to an off-field role.

Coaching turnover since Taylor last visited might have kept a scholarship offer from materializing at the moment.

Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Northwestern, Tulsa and Wisconsin have already offered. Taylor visited Northwestern and Wisconsin earlier in the week.

“They were saying it was more because a lot of them are new,” Taylor said. “Coach Gilmore and coach Denson — I don’t know about coach Denbrock — they’re fairly new. They’ve only been on two or three weeks. There’s not too much you can see or really do right now. They haven’t formed a relationship with me or seen me really in action in person. We got to see coach Denson, his values and what’s important. He’s a Christian man and we thought that was really important.”

Taylor now plans to take a break on visits while sorting out options alongside his family. Spring game stops at Nebraska, Missouri or Kansas State could be possible. Notre Dame will likely hang around the periphery.

“We’re heading home right now just looking at options and decisions we’re gonna make,” Taylor said. “Notre Dame is definitely a potential place but the fact is they haven’t offered. It’s nothing on them, it’s just we’re considering ones that have offered because we’re looking at the best place for me.”

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