Atlanta’s Taylor named MVP for ‘Blur’ in Under Armour Game

St. Petersburg, Fla. – Michael Taylor was one of only a few three-star-rated players participating in an Under Armour All-America Game crowded with five-star prospects. But it was the senior from Atlanta’s Westlake High that is coming home with the hardware after Saturday’s nationally-televised all-star game.

Taylor, a 6-foot, 190-pound linebacker who is committed to Tennessee, was named most valuable player for Team Blur after his performance here at Tropicana Field. He’ll add that trophy to the one he got earlier this week for winning the obstacle course competition in the Burger King Skills Challenge during practices up in Orlando.

“Yeah, a lot of people didn’t think I’d do the stuff I did when I came down here,” Taylor said in the locker room after the game. “I just took it personal showed the world that I belong at the top.”

While alternating snaps with four other linebackers, Taylor was credited with a modest three tackles. But all of them were big hits, including one bone-jarring tackle for a two-yard loss on fellow Atlantan and good friend Mack Brown of Team Nitro.

“I told him I was going to do it,” Taylor said with a big grin. “Told him on the plane over here. And it happened.”

Brown managed just eight yards on six carries and did not play much in the second half due to a bothersome hamstring injury. But he got the last laugh. His team beat Taylor’s team 32-7.

“Winning the game means a lot,” Brown said. “Just being here is a blessing. But it was nice to win.”

It seems Taylor benefited a lot from visualization. That’s what he credits for the MVP award.

“I told myself I was going to [win MVP] and I ended up getting it,” he said. “If you say it and you believe what you say there’s isn’t any doubting it. I worked for it and it ended up happening.”

Preparation, he said, was the key to winning in the skills challenge.

“I started working out for that as soon as I found out I was going to be in it,” Taylor said. “I watched it last year and I knew I was going to be participating. So I just worked on getting better at it and ended up winning it.”

Taylor is considered small for a linebacker, which is a big reason why he came in with three-star ratings from both Rivals.com and Scout.com. But ESPN’s Scouts Inc., which selected the players for Saturday’s game, gave him a four-star ranking.

“Small by size but big in heart,” Taylor said. “Football is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical. I’ve got what it takes inside. The outside will come.”

Brown shared carries with Loganville’s Storm Johnson, who finished as the game’s leading rusher with 30 on seven carries (4.3 ypc).

In all 12 players from Georgia played in the game, featuring 88 of the top college prospects in the nation.

It was a good day for the less-highly-touted prospects. Also standing out was Norcross defensive end Adrian Hubbard, who had two tackles for loss, a sack and a quarterback pressure, and wide receiver Tai-ler Jones, who had three catches for 43 yards. Jonathan Dowling had two interceptions for Team Nitro. All average three-stars in rankings.

MVP for Team Nitro was defensive tackle Dominique Easley of Staten Island, N.Y., who committed to Florida during television broadcast.

Quarterback play and pass protection were poor. Six quarterbacks combined to complete just 24-of-66 passes with four interceptions and three TDs.

18 comments Add your comment

Who Cares!!

January 2nd, 2010
3:49 pm

second!

January 2nd, 2010
4:01 pm

Second!! Wow I’m pathetic. I must be a GT student.

NastyNate

January 2nd, 2010
4:17 pm

This kid completely outplayed Jeff Luc. The VOLS are happy to have you on board!!!

UGA 2010

January 2nd, 2010
4:47 pm

I thought you said that there were going to be at least 3 or 4 commits during or after the game….what happened to that?

Coach D

January 2nd, 2010
5:08 pm

In case somebody has not heard… Tebow’s gone, Tebow’s gone, Tebow’s GONE!!!!!!!! Can somebody (besides Alabama) please beat Florida!!!!!

Lord of The Lizards

January 2nd, 2010
5:24 pm

Coach D…Bad News…Heeere’s Johnny!!!!

coach

January 2nd, 2010
5:42 pm

mack brown is sooo over rated he shouldnt have been on the field with those guys let alon be going to florida there are more deserving players than him

AlabamaRamblinwreck

January 2nd, 2010
5:51 pm

Chip: Any update on Ayers? I heard he may have been injured.

Smyrna Man

January 3rd, 2010
12:06 am

Congrats Michael Taylor!

Go Vols!

DawgGoneIt

January 3rd, 2010
12:30 am

Taylor can flat out play! Future NFL LB…wait and see.

Harold

January 3rd, 2010
10:16 am

How does Georgia miss a sensational player like this? I know Tennessee has great NFL assistant coaches and The Lane Train. But this shows it’s time for Richt to go!

SickandTired

January 3rd, 2010
10:18 am

It appears that the wide receiver that Dawg Fans think is the next Jerry Rice that played in this game not only is going to fit in well with the “me” faction on Mark Richts team, but he also will distinguish himself even more with his comments and lack of effort.

DougsMugsCoffee

January 3rd, 2010
8:09 pm

With Berry leaving for the NFL, Tennessee will need every pound of Taylor and then some. Eric Berry was unreal and I am glad he is gone.

DAWG BONE

January 4th, 2010
7:27 am

Have fun with Mack brown Fla. OVERRATED!!!!!!!!!!!

Harold is a Dumb A

January 4th, 2010
12:15 pm

Ritch is much smarter than you think. Taylor had a motivated, good game…nothing wrong with that…congrats to him…To say that 5th winningest football coach in the last 10 years should go if just plain idiotic. Ritch is a great coach and those of you who like Harold, never played the game, know nothing about coaching, but constantly join this blog with foolish criticism need to go back to watching wrestling and the dukes of hazard.

tampa dawg

January 4th, 2010
7:16 pm

I was at the game as I am from tampa, and i must honestly say the game was less than impressive. Plant High School which won the 5a state title in Florida this year could beat either one of those teams that were on the field. Joe Montana’s son is over hyped and sucks.

Chip Towers

January 4th, 2010
9:38 pm

tampa dawg: I agree that the game was very unimpressive but either one of those teams would annihilate Plant High. The problem with all these all-star games is they usually have much less than a week to prepare. The U-A teams actually had just two days on the field together. the third day was washed out by rain and they had a walk-thru at the hotel. Consequently defenses dominate, quarterbacks and receivers never get timing and routes down, etc. . . . I’d look for the U.S. Army Game to be a little crisper as they had their first practice Monday so they’ll have five days of work before kickoff. . . .

TENNESSEE VOL MOM

January 5th, 2010
2:43 pm

GREAT JOB MICHAEL TAYLOR EVERYONE IS SO PROUD OF YOU AND YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND EXPECT GREAT THINGS FROM YOU AT TENNESSEE OR WHEREVER YOU DECIDE TO GO. GOD BLESS YOU…