Salem (N.J.) three-star running back Jonathan Taylor is the top player at his position in the Garden State, and staying close to home is a realistic option.
Taylor wants to have five finalists by June for a decision. Rutgers and Harvard are the first two locked in before he decides in the summer.
“Going into the season, I want to be 110 percent focused on the task at hand,” Taylor said. “That task is a championship.”
Taylor visited Rutgers Thursday for practice and recently saw Maryland, Temple, Villanova and Virginia. He visits Harvard in addition to two camps in the next month.
Rutgers hosted Taylor for the second time in spring, and the improvements since junior day stood out.
“These guys are definitely getting bigger, stronger and faster,” Taylor said. “Every time I go, they’re faster. Every practice is faster. [Offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer] has them really developing. Every time I go, guys are handing practice better They’re cut up, big, fast, all of the things you need to become successful player on the field.”
Rutgers coach Chris Ash did not push Taylor for a commitment, but spoke sternly enough to express a serious interest in landing the state’s top running back.
“Come to Rutgers and you get the complete package,” Taylor said on Ash’s message. You get the package that everyone dreams about for a school – competition, academics and being coached the right way. Rutgers does it all and he would love for me to take advantage of the opportunity that I have. I didn’t feel any pressure but they let me know they want me.”
Taylor watched practice with director of player development Nick Quartaro.
“His job is to teach guys to network and use that to their advantage,” Taylor said. “These guys really care about their professional life after football is over. … After practice, guys ate and went right to study hall or class. The coaches harp on grades and academics because those guys weren’t straggling. Everybody knew where to go. They were all business.”