Taylor on Tennessee: ‘It’s not dead with cow pastures’

Tennessee was late to land on Michael Taylor’s radar. But once it did the Volunteers’ combination of location and adoration resulted in the linebacker’s sudden decision to commit to their 2010 class.

Taylor, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound rising senior at Atlanta’s Westlake High, committed to coach Lane Kiffin while on an impromptu unofficial visit to Knoxville this weekend.

“I went up there and that was the school I felt was the most excited about me,” said Taylor, an outspoken and confident young man who often refers to himself in the third person. “It was a great fit when I went there. I saw they needed some help at linebacker and I’m just the guy they need.”

Taylor, considered a 3-star recruit by Rivals.com, said he went to about a dozen schools on unofficial visits over the past several months, including Georgia, Georgia Tech, Miami, Florida Atlantic, Central Florida, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Alabama, Auburn, LSU and, of course, Tennessee. He said all of them except Auburn offered a scholarship.

But the Vols simply showed more love, he said. And he clearly the liked the school’s location near downtown Knoxville.

“It’s a beautiful city,” he said. “It’s a college town but it has life. It’s not dead with cow pastures and horses all around it. It has a city; it has something I can do. It’s a great place. I’m from California. I’m not trying to go to the middle of nowhere. I’m used to the city life. So Knoxville is a great place for Michael Taylor to be.”

Be sure to check back here early Monday morning and I’ll share some interesting details Taylor told me, including his thoughts on the Tennessee coaching staff and a bizarre incident while he was on campus.

107 comments Add your comment

saint simmons

August 9th, 2009
3:40 pm

(((((51-7)))))…I’m a loser hahahaha.

Big Dog

August 9th, 2009
3:49 pm

“Jimmy likes T-Lane!.”

Taylor S

August 9th, 2009
3:59 pm

Apparently UGA made it clear to him weeks ago they had moved on. Another case of a school beating UGA for a kid they weren’t even after.

gatorman770

August 9th, 2009
4:00 pm

Musta’ been the banjo music from “Deliverance”!

JJ

August 9th, 2009
4:01 pm

Great pickup by the Vols. I would have loved to see him at Tech, but don’t mind seeing him go to Bobby Dodd’s alma mater.

Ben in Georgia

August 9th, 2009
4:04 pm

Taylor S,

Just curious here: How do you know that? I hear people say that all the time on these recruiting stories. I’m a Georgia grad and it sounds like this guy wouldn’t fit with the program too well anyways, so it’s not impossible to believe.

Volman

August 9th, 2009
4:06 pm

He probably went to Athens and saw how ugly and dirty it is five minutes from campus. Outside of the school that area is trash. Very broke down.

UGA

August 9th, 2009
4:11 pm

Congratulations Michael Taylor, best of luck to you except when you play the red & black. I am glad you chose the SEC instead of the A(lways) C(rappy) C(onference), you will never regret that decision.

THWGT!!!

Look Alive---There are buzzards overhead

August 9th, 2009
4:11 pm

No thanks. Don-t need anymore thoughts or reasons from a Tenn commit. Give us something more relevant on Monday. This dude is from Californey and loves the night life. Report bacl later and inform us if he is still in school,

JACKETfan

August 9th, 2009
4:11 pm

Everytime a recruit goes somewhere else… the typical UGA response is
“Oh, the dawgs must not have wanted him. The dawgs found someone else. This kid would be a third stringer at UGA.”

Get over yourselves. Just because a recruit didnt go to UGA doesnt me he isnt worth his salt. Kiffy is gonna start beating UGA every year along with Paul Johnson. Mark it down. UGA will have a 4 or 5 loss season every year from here on out.

SickandTired

August 9th, 2009
4:13 pm

Volman i see that you’ve been to the “classic” city before. You’re right, it is a little less than pleasing to the eye once you get away from downtown. However, I’ve found the further you get away from the campus, the nicer the people are. Most of the kids are snobbish metro kids who have been spoiled all their life.

DBCOOPER

August 9th, 2009
4:13 pm

The view never changes when you’re on the bottom of the stack. I’ll take natural scenery anyday.

Look Alive---There are buzzards overhead

August 9th, 2009
4:16 pm

JACKETfan Did you just call the Tenn coach {Kiffy}? Do we detect a little man crush here? Do you get a sensation going up your leg when you see Kiffy?

jdub

August 9th, 2009
4:20 pm

Are you serious? “So Knoxville is a great place for Michael Taylor to be.” You have to be kidding me. This egomaniac is exactly what Knoxville needs. He’ll fit right in with lane kiffy and co. I honestly hope I never waste the time reading a story about this kid again.

Bama Dawg

August 9th, 2009
4:21 pm

Sounds like the the arrogant kid with fit in just fine with all the rest of the Tennessee crowd. I’m sure his teammates will love him.

Tim

August 9th, 2009
4:24 pm

Jacketfan – That’s a typical Jacket response too… Now that Paul Johnson’s here, UGA won’t win a game against Tech ever again, 45-42, Blah Blah Blah… Paul Johnson is a great coach. And I do believe that Tech will be much better with him. But give me a break, you guys win 1 game in the last 8 years , and it was by 3 points mind you, and all of a sudden think that you own us, and the last several years of Richt and UGA winning 10+ games, finishing in top 10, etc.. is over. The UGA-GT series will be much more competitive now, and overall UGA will still do just fine as we have with Richt before. Mark that down…

Oh and about Michael Taylor, we did stop actively recruiting him. He’s a great player and that’s a great pickup for Tennessee, but we’re almost full. Had he committed sooner, we would’ve accepted him with open arms. However, especially at his position, we simply don’t have the room. I agree with you, far too often the typical response from most people (no matter which school, not just UGA) is “we didn’t want him”, or “he’d never play here..”. This time, it was simply a numbers game, and he waited too long. Good luck to him though!

GAVOL

August 9th, 2009
4:33 pm

Fellow GA fans….let’s try to show alittle class. We all wish UGA got top Ga recruits. And yes, he is an ESPN 150 recruit. If he had chosen us we would all be going crazy. But he chose to play for the Vols. We sound like 1st graders always when a fellow Ga player choses another school. Good for him and best wishes to him….except when he plays the red and black.

Jeff

August 9th, 2009
4:36 pm

I am Michael Taylor’s frontal lobe. I regulate Michael’s ability to recognize future consequences resulting from current actions; and, to choose between good and bad actions.

I am currently on the fritz.

KYFAN-IN-GA

August 9th, 2009
4:37 pm

Sounds like a great player that I wish KY could have gotten. It is so funny though when a Ga player that is offered by Ga the typical Ga fan always says…..we had better players on the horizon don’t need him anyway. You all know you want any top 150 player from Ga….don’t make yourselves look stupid by always saying this. Go Blue!

Craig

August 9th, 2009
4:40 pm

Banjo music? You know the book and movie Deliverance is a GA based movie right? Another classic example of an idiot without a clue trying to insult someone else.

And egomaniac? Well if UGA is content with the ‘modest’ highly ranked recruits who turn out to be mediocre, I’ll take egomaniac any day. Have fun with mediocrity. How’s that national title coming in Athens? Just how many years does it take Richt to get there? Seeing how UGA is now owned by the Gators and now soon to be UT, Richt better start scouting out a new school to retire to or just succumb to being the Arkansas of the East.

brick

August 9th, 2009
4:41 pm

UT is a good place for him, they deserve each other and I hope he starts from day 1.

Techster

August 9th, 2009
4:43 pm

Sounds like this young man made a great decision in choosing UT over ga….since he must have wanted to play in the SEC. Wish he had come to Tech but he snubbed ga so that is good. Typical ga whiners when an instate player they offered goes somewhere else. Sounds like the Vols got a great player and ga fans can’t stand it….oh yeah wait….they have better players they are waiting for….they really did not mean the offer to him….how comical!

allvol

August 9th, 2009
4:47 pm

To the typical gator fan….do you even know that Deliverance was about Ga and filmed there? You might want to know what you are talking about before talking.

RomeGaVol

August 9th, 2009
4:52 pm

I think instead of trashing another school and making myself look bad like so many do on these sites when a player does not choose them….I will just say welcome to Rocky Top Mr. Taylor! We are proud you choose the Vols and can’t wait to see you in orange.

45ACP

August 9th, 2009
4:53 pm

Looks clear to me that the Bulldogs recruting on defense is going well.

Demetre Baker OLB 6-0 200 Orange Park, FL (Orange Park)
Brandon Burrows DE 6-3 240 Marietta, GA (Walton)
B.J. Butler LB 6-3 240 Kissimmee, FL (Osceola)
Marc Deas S 6-0 185 Kissimmee, FL (Osceola)
Jalen Fields DE 6-5 250 Dalton, GA (Dalton)
Jakar Hamilton1 S 6-2 196 Johnston, SC (Strom Thurmond)
Dexter Morant DE 6-7 240 Manning, SC (Manning)
Alec Ogletree S 6-3 210 Newnan, GA (Newnan)
Nickell Robey CB 5-8 165 Frostproof, FL (Frostproof)
Deon Rogers OLB 6-3 197 Treasure Coast, FL (Port St. Lucie)
Garrison Smith DT 6-4 250 Atlanta, GA (Douglass)
T.J. Stripling DE 6-6 215 Decatur, GA (Southwest Dekalb)

Jeff

August 9th, 2009
4:56 pm

Hey Craig–Easy there big fella’. Not sure I’d go with this little nugget: “Seeing how UGA is now owned by the Gators and now soon to be UT, Richt better start scouting out a new school to retire to or just succumb to being the Arkansas of the East.”

As a FL grad, I’m happy with the success against GA under Richt, but he’s a successful, proven winner. Unlike the undisciplined, classless big-mouth running the show up at UT, Richt has actually ACCOMPLISHED SOMETHING. Might want to save the Richt taunts until UT actually WINS A GAME under Kiffin.

By the way, best of luck in The Swamp this year. Come back and talk after you’ve lost by at least six touchdowns.

Kiffin's Pops Is Senile

August 9th, 2009
5:02 pm

Dear Michael, Too bad you can’t ask reggie White about the fine people of Knoxville. Reggie went up there to sow some racial tolerance and he got to watch churches born down. They might adore Tennessee football, BUT just make sure you have something identifying yourself as a player before you go into town(Town??LOL)

71 DAWG

August 9th, 2009
5:12 pm

I’ve been to Knoxville myself kid. You should have taken the blindfolds off while you were there! The downtown is completely dead so I hope you enjoy hanging out at the mall! Two good restaurants in the whole town, really.

RomeGaVol

August 9th, 2009
5:13 pm

To kiffin’spops is senile and jeff….you guy’s do your school’s an injustice. Both so small minded. Makes me feel even better about my above post of not trashing other schools. Interesting how an article about an athlete choosing a school….brings out small minded people and the need to trash a player (kid) and the school they choose.

atlantafootballfan

August 9th, 2009
5:27 pm

71 dawg knows not what he is talking about. Probably never even been to knoxville so just a cheap shot. Tons of good restaurants in K Town and a thriving town as well. maybe you should really get out more often. Look the kid did not choose to play for UGA so get over it. Oh yeah I know, we really did not want the 2009 Under Armour player and top 150 player……you guys are a joke! No matter what school you would have had them a target as well. I guess the underachieving dawgs of 2008 still have you babies crying!

Sammy Jones

August 9th, 2009
5:27 pm

Jeff

August 9th, 2009
5:27 pm

Glad he’s not at Tech or UGA. Didn’t want him. He’s sounds like a jerk.

Voice of Reason

August 9th, 2009
5:28 pm

Hey Volman – The reason you may see the $hitty side of a town is because that is where you must hang out. Throwing mud at one of the 10 most attractive places to live in the USA (Forbes, USNews – check it out)is not fooling anybody. Go back to your side of the tracks (literally) and come up with something that will stick.

Sonny Clusters

August 9th, 2009
5:38 pm

We was noticing this player wants something to do. How about going to class?

Pago Flyer

August 9th, 2009
5:46 pm

Yes, let’s all wish this kid the very best of everything in life…why, so he’ll come back and beat the Dawgs the next 4 years?!

BS Patrol

August 9th, 2009
6:00 pm

Another snub for Hicksville, where Deliverence gets its cast members.

aztec

August 9th, 2009
6:00 pm

let me guess. DAWG fans are saying they really didnt want this 3 star guy

Really?

August 9th, 2009
6:17 pm

If he likes the “night life” why didn’t he go to Tech. Obviously, not the smartest kid. Looks like Florida is about to have serious competition in arrest department.

JJ

August 9th, 2009
6:32 pm

Good get for the Vols and for their defense.

That said, come on people – Georgia fans aren’t saying that because they’re mad about him not coming to Athens – they’re saying it because the Dawgs are already filled up on defense. There really isn’t room for him unless he wants to compete with all those other LBs and DEs coming in. Like someone already mentioned, it’s a numbers game – and if he had made his decision earlier, UGA gladly would’ve taken him because he’s a good player.

I’m a fairly neutral observer but UT fans have taken on the personality of their coach – arrogant and cocky without Kiffin having coached a game. Dude must be infectious. Tech fans have become the same way – beat Georgia once in 8 years, and by 3 points, and now all of a sudden the Dawgs won’t win another game and lose 4-5 games a season? That’s laughable. Are those Techies mad because the Dawgs have been consitently better over the past decade?

45ACP

August 9th, 2009
6:43 pm

A lot of my Tennessee friends think they really screwed up. They let Cutcliff go, the best QB coach in the country. Fire Fullmer who just bleeds orange. You will not find a more dedicated man to a program. Then bring in these clowns, Kiffen and company. Kiffen was a disater at Oakland. Time will tell and the Tennessee fans I know are not happy.

MoreBuzzLessBark

August 9th, 2009
6:44 pm

Anyone that thinks UGA doesn’t want a top 150 recruit who was offered by an impressive list of schools is kidding themselves. “Oh we didn’t want him?” Just admit that Tennessee got a good player who everyone apparently offered. Maybe their coach is arrogant but can’t really argue with their recruiting. Especially when their state has no homegrown talent.

Just get over yourselves Dawgs! We beat you last year. If you don’t get to the SEC champ this year Richt will be on the hot seat. After all you just had the best QB in school history and the second best RB and have zero championships to show for it. If you are really getting all the great players you want every year then maybe it’s the coaching not the talent?

45ACP

August 9th, 2009
6:49 pm

Oct 11, 2008 – Georgia Win vs. Tennessee, 26-14
Tennesse beat Georgis last year, I don’t think so.

MoreBuzzLessBark

August 9th, 2009
6:56 pm

Nov 29, 2008 – Georgia Tech Win vs. Tennessee, 45-42
Georgia beat GT last year, I don’t think so.

MoreBuzzLessBark

August 9th, 2009
7:02 pm

Tennessee,

From a Tech fan congrats on a great pick up. We are not ashamed, embarrassed or too unrealistic to admit we wanted him and offered him.

Apparently though most of the UGA fans on here attend weekly recruiting meetings with the UGA coaching staff and Richt doesn’t make a move without their approval. They know for a fact that UGA didn’t want him and want everyone to know. There are several other players that UGA doesn’t want and they will let us all know who they are after they commit elsewhere in the future.

JJ

August 9th, 2009
7:08 pm

MoreBuzzLessBark,

It’s really not that at all. The Dawgs recruited him, of course, but it’s apparent that they backed off after getting 3, possibly 4 outside linebackers already in this class. They have no need for another one unless it’s a supremely talented guy like Jeff Luc. Sure, UGA would’ve liked him…but a month or two ago.

Also, Stafford was not even close to being the best QB in school history – you’ve gotta look to Eric Zeier, David Green, and maybe even Buck Belue before you can think about Stafford. Just because Stafford was loved by NFL scouts doesn’t mean he was the best QB in school history.

Richt on the hot seat? I don’t think so. Maybe their DC…Martinez, I believe? UGA has 2 SEC titles this decade, 2 BCS bowl wins, and have won 7 out of 8 from Tech. The last ACC title for Tech was shared with FSU in 1998. So until Tech wins something of real, legitimate importance, I love all the talk.

BullyMack

August 9th, 2009
7:18 pm

The kid talks in 3rd person while a rising senior in high school? Seriously? Next.

Dawg'94

August 9th, 2009
7:19 pm

Anyone who speaks in third person is an idiot. Have fun in Orangeland.

Les W. Moore

August 9th, 2009
7:34 pm

Do still think the UT billboards in Atlanta are marketing tickets? Grow up mutt fans. You would have loved to keep this kid in-state. Don’t fret. You’ll have a top 10 recruiting class who will win 10 games and keep Coach Richt around forever. Remember the guy named Dooley?

45ACP

August 9th, 2009
7:36 pm

Tech beating Tennessee, Ha I don’t think so.
Lucky to beat Gardner-Webb 10-9. Where are your rings for that great program building win?

tip

August 9th, 2009
7:40 pm

Well, I will say that with the talking of himself in the third person andd taking a jab at other SEC schools that this doesn’t sound like the kind of kid iwould want playing at UGA. Best of luck and tear it up except when playing UGA.