The only player committed to Tennessee in the 2018 class other than Cade Mays is Alontae Taylor.
Both in-state products have been on board as future Volunteers since long before even their junior seasons of high school football. Each has put on their recruiter’s hat and continue to spread word on why Tennessee can win championships.
On Saturday, both took part in a junior day recruiting event on Rocky Top.
“It was great,” Taylor said. “I haven’t been up here since the Alabama game, so being able to come back and see the coaching staff, see all the players and (Tennessee freshman wide receiver) Marquez Callaway and guys like that. It was good seeing them again. It’s been a long time. Just being able to get that feeling again with the coaching staff and all the guys were in town also.”
The day included the Scout four-star prospect and No. 289 player in the country spending much-needed time with Tennessee coach Butch Jones as well as wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve talked,” Taylor said. “Being able to talk to him and get back comfortable with him and of course recruiting. We’ve got a lot of guys that came here. Brendon Harris, we’re still working on him. Guys like that. Talked to Cam this morning, Jaylon King, guys like that. We’re going to keep recruiting. We don’t have any new commitments to day, but I feel that some guys are getting close.”
The Manchester native gave Tennessee a verbal commitment back on June 18 as part of a barrage of pledges during an Orange Carpet Day event.
“A kid looks forward to the whole recruiting process,” he said. “It was something I looked forward to. When I got into it, it was just mind-blowing. A lot of stuff goes on. I just felt that when I committed to UT, it was the right timing. I wanted it to last but the relationship that me and coach Z and coach Jones built was just something I couldn’t build with anybody else. I just felt it was the right time to close it down.”
Programs such as Florida and Louisiana State have expressed interest of late. Taylor said chances are that he will stick with Tennessee.
“It’s going to be real hard,” Taylor said. “Like I said, I’m an in-state kid. I want to represent my state. As far as going all the way to Louisiana or Florida, that’s a long ways to go. It’s going to be real tough.
“When I get (offers), I’m just going to hide them. It’s a blessing to get those offers but at the end of the day, it’s a blessing to have those coaches to actually hold you down to let you know what they’re here for.”
The prep quarterback will play wide receiver at Tennessee. He understands time away from his eventual positional home means he must put in work as a pass catcher in the spring and summer. He just got back from a 7-on-7 tournament in Orlando and plans to trip to Las Vegas soon for another tourney.
“In high school, I’m a quarterback, so all I do is run a lot,” said Taylor, who ranks by Scout as the No. 1 athlete in the Volunteer State’s 2018 class. “My route running will be a big thing and of course flexibility because I cannot touch my toes.”
As a junior, the Red Raider ran for 1,368 yards with 17 touchdowns on 154 attempts.