Philadelphia Roman Catholic offensive lineman Manny Taylor always enjoyed his mother’s support, and now he returns the favor.
Taylor locked up a full athletic scholarship to Rutgers on National Signing Day, and he officially begins his college career in three weeks.
“This is a huge weight off of her shoulders,” Taylor said. “Now she doesn’t have to pay for my education. Now she doesn’t have to worry about my future. That’s the best feeling. She’s exciting, and now she can just kick back and come to some games.”
Taylor was a star basketball player for Roman Catholic with scholarship options on the hardcourt. A developmental lineman until his senior season, Taylor saw Rutgers take a chance on him after he impressed at last year’s Big Man Academy.
Taylor committed shortly after he received an offer, but admitted that he has a long road to playing time.
“My development has come a long way, but I’m just getting started,” Taylor said. “It’s not just what I do on the field, but off the field as well. The coaches have been checking up on me and asking about grades. They’ve been giving me great advice and not just what a coach would give you. It’s talking man to man. I can tell that I’ve grown a lot since committing to Rutgers, and I haven’t even stepped on the field yet.”
Taylor improved on the field during his senior season with the varsity program, and the next step comes under the tutelage of coaches Kyle Flood and Mitch Browning in training camp.
“Coach Flood has been an offensive line coach for 16 years or something like that,” Taylor said. “Coach Browning also knows what he’s talking about. Those two are going to help me bring my game to the next level.”
After Taylor’s official visit to Rutgers, he declared that the defensive line better get ready for some competition. Close to a blank slate upon enrollment, Taylor can’t wait to face the likes of Darius Hamilton and Kemoko Turay.
“It’s something I asked for,” Taylor said. “I’m going to be competing against the best of the best – Big Ten, Division I. As a competitor, it’s something I’m excited for, especially the guys I’ll be facing in practice.”
Taylor graduates from high school at the end of the week, and then gets two weeks off before his college enrollment.
“Excitement, expectation and all of that goes into it,” Taylor said. “It’s an exciting time of year, so I’m just biding my time. I’m trying to keep my head down until I get to Rutgers. I’m ready for the best years of my life, so they say.”