After Tennessee debacle, Michael Taylor ‘blessed’ to be a Gator

When Michael Taylor revealed that he had decommitted from Tennessee this past Wednesday, it was naturally assumed it was because coach Lane Kiffin pulled an about-face and jettisoned Rocky Top for Southern California.

Michael Taylor

Michael Taylor

But the truth is the fast-rising linebacker from Atlanta’s Westlake High School had already backed out before the Kiffins bolted. Taylor had silently committed to the Florida Gators a week ago Sunday before leaving his official visit to Gainesville. He went public with the news this past Sunday.

“I wanted to let the Tennessee coaches know and then all that happened with Coach Kiffin and everything and that delayed things,” the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Under Armour All-American told me yesterday. “I finally talked to coach [Lance] Thompson. He was the one who recruited me all along so he was who I really wanted to talk to. He was OK with it. He said he understood.”

No one player has seen his stock rise more than Taylor. Considered at the outset of recruiting as a smallish linebacker, the 6-foot, 200-pound Taylor earned MVP honors for the white team at the Under Armour All-America Game in St. Petersburg on Jan. 2. That was after winning the obstacle course competition in the Burger King Skills Challenge during the Under Armour practices in Orlando earlier that week and impressing throughout his exceptional quickness for a linebacker.

That he ended up pledging to Florida was somewhat of a fortunate coincidence for Taylor. He hadn’t really been on the Gators’ radar until Charlie Strong left to become head coach at Louisville to initiate a coaching exodus in Gainesville. Florida hired D.J. Durkin as linebackers coach and Durkin just so happened to have been recruiting Taylor for Stanford.

Durkin immediately came after Taylor and convinced him to come in for an official visit last weekend. Taylor, a California native, was blown away by the warm weather and palm trees — not to mention the depth chart.

“Usually you think that Florida has backups and backups,” Taylor said. “But it’s a great time to go there because they have only six linebackers right now and just lost Brandon Spikes. I want to step in and take over for Spikes. Plus, it’s Florida. Who wouldn’t want to be a Gator?”

Taylor was feeling particularly blessed after witnessing the chaos Kiffin’s departure created at Tennessee.

“Actually I was supposed to graduate early but wasn’t able to, so I would have already been up there,” Taylor said. “I was upset about [not being able to graduate early] at first. But now I’m thankful. There truly is somebody looking out for me. I’m just blessed.”

179 comments Add your comment

BAMA FAN #2

January 18th, 2010
11:59 am

The gators got a very very good player!! He was all over the field at the all star game in Tampa!! RTR

Les W. Moore

January 18th, 2010
12:06 pm

“There truly is somebody looking out for me. I’m justed blessed?”

Is this more of Urban Meyer’s weeping and telling teenage boys that he loves them? Meyer is an unstable emotional wreck. He’ll be checked into the looney hospital soon. Let’s all hope for these boy’s safety…..

dawgydawg47

January 18th, 2010
12:07 pm

Who wouldn’t want to be a Gator? – ME

1eyedJack

January 18th, 2010
12:13 pm

Mike got some new blue and orange sneakers for Christmas and is just trying to match up his outfits. Seriously there are two or three in every class that you wish you could keep in-state.

Mr.Dawg

January 18th, 2010
12:15 pm

i’m glad he is a gator, he is too small to fit to the new Georgia D anyway.our DBs are bigger than him that’s why Charlie Strong doesn’t want him and Georgia doesn’t want him either. beside under armour is overrated and 80% of the players selected are busts

Rehab will not allow TV all day long

January 18th, 2010
12:17 pm

Meyer will be sobbing again when he learns that his Ocala half way house ( rehab ) will not allow him to sit and view TV all day on U of F gameday. They will have him outside, clipping shrubs and mowing the grounds for therapeutic value.

His 2010 Recruits? See UT last week and on signing day. Not happy, they will be when Urban Liar says “um, i uh, need some time to think about my um, direction in coaching and spend time with my family”. They will not he happy, those Gator recruits.

You heard it here first.

The General Feeling

January 18th, 2010
12:17 pm

Taylor was an unknown before he committed to Tennessee. He’ll arrive on the Gainsville campus as an undersized LB or oversized DB. Tweener. I suspect he’ll never see the field on a roster of bigger and stonger, just as fast, just as talented players. Special teams, more than likely.

Who would not want to be a Gator?

January 18th, 2010
12:18 pm

Urban Meyer about 6 hours after the Alabama game.

GTville

January 18th, 2010
12:20 pm

The Gators have a recruiting advantage with signing day being in the winter. If the recruits had to visit from May to November they would not be impressed by warm weather and palm trees, but by hot sticky weather and a lot of bugs.

That said, it sounds like he likes his new coach and good for him to have the chance a good education and to be able to play at one of the best football schools in the country.

That's really dumb

January 18th, 2010
12:24 pm

Mine is this long and yours in much longer. I sure envy yours, but mine is better than yours, and I never really wanted or needed yours anyway. Signed, typcial Georgia fan.

Les W. Moore

January 18th, 2010
12:24 pm

Rehab is spot on….

Meyer is fooling the teenagers now but he’ got a room booked for the Cuckoos Nest come Feb. 4.

That's really dumb

January 18th, 2010
12:27 pm

I forgot one, which I just read on here today…..and the reason yours is longer is because you get all the breaks and we never do. Signed, again, typical Georgia fan.

Au Contraire

January 18th, 2010
12:30 pm

MR DAWG- “i’m glad he is a gator, he is too small to fit to the new Georgia D anyway.our DBs are bigger than him.”

Unless you’re having a memory lapse, last I recall Rennie Curran was 5ft 11in. Curran is shorter than Taylor…yet Curran played starting LB for your Dawgs. You’d probably be jumping for joy if Taylor committed to the Dawgs. Enjoy being 2nd place (at most) in the SEC East…again.

Dunkley

January 18th, 2010
12:33 pm

“Plus, it’s Florida. Who wouldn’t want to be a Gator?” – Michael Taylor

Love it! Same attitude that will bring in top recruits year after year.

“Georgia doesn’t want him either”

Thats why they recruited him hard and offered him a scholarship right?

Dawg Breath Hater

January 18th, 2010
12:33 pm

It is obvious that almost all the top recruits want to be a Gator. It just took Michael a little longer to realize it. Plus, you Meyer haters out there. He has gained back about 20 lbs. and is regaining his health. I am sure that greatly disappoints you that a human being has taking some time off to regain his health. He will be back on the sideslines soon and will make it 18 out of 21 in November. Then 19 of 22, 20 of 23, etc. etc. etc. etc. Just like a drum beat that goes bong in your head once every year even though you continue to deny it is there….BONG BONG BONG BONG….GATOR BONG!!!!!

Gator recruiting landside continues

January 18th, 2010
12:37 pm

Michael Taylor is currently 6′ and 200 lbs. By the time he sees the field in the fall (yes, as a special teams player as a freshmen so he can be a star later), he will be 6′ and 215 lbs. That is plenty big enough to play OLB in the Florida defense some day….and 4.5 in the 40 is fast enough too. This is a great get for the Gators since it looks like Jordan Hicks will be a Longhorn.

Jesup

January 18th, 2010
12:42 pm

This kid will not see the field except on Special teams, He should have went somewhere where he would start. he will transfer….. Alot better talent in front of him at Florida.

Au Contraire

January 18th, 2010
12:42 pm

Gators are hauling great talents of need, heavy hitters with elite speed. UGA saw this coming, dreamt all those fast Gators chasing him. RIP UGA.
If you’re not a Gator, then your Gator bait.

gatorman770

January 18th, 2010
12:44 pm

Y’all Gator Haters crack me up with your jealous rantings, rumours and lies!
Top recruits from all over the country are flocking to the Gators making Florida’s 2010 recruting class number One rated on Rivals, Scout and ESPN and you can’t handle the truth….and we have 3 more spaces to be filled on or by February 3rd. The reloading is almost complete!
It’s Great to be a Florida Gator!

Gator recruiting landside continues

January 18th, 2010
12:44 pm

YUet another reason Michael Taylor picked Florida. He is smart enough to get into Stanford and that means he is too smart to go to Georgia.

cajdawg

January 18th, 2010
12:45 pm

The pot is great in Gainesville! Let the credit cards fall from the sky!

That's really dumb

January 18th, 2010
12:51 pm

Duh….the only reason these recruits are picking Florida is because they go down there during the winter….and….I forgot….the beautiful ladies walking around in January in swimsuits, the beautiful campus, the great opportunity for an excellent education, one of the best sports facilities in all the country, the great supportive family environment that Meyer and Foley have established in Gainesville, the great coaches that are putting players into the NFL in droves, the championship rings the players are wearing, THE SWAMP, being near the beaches, great college town (did I mention the women…wow!!!), and the opportunity to become part of GATOR NATION for the rest of my life. It is GREAT TO BE A FLORIDA GATOR. Welcome aboard, Mr. Taylor.

Top Dawg

January 18th, 2010
12:54 pm

I, for one, wouldn’t want to be a Gator.

By the way, and I do mean this as a serious question, who is the Gators’ head coach this week?

Free Drinks

January 18th, 2010
12:54 pm

We welcome Bulldogs players in our bars and we don’t close until 2am. Drink up, but please no fighting.

Coach Smith

January 18th, 2010
12:58 pm

The biggest reason that the Gators are having a good recruiting class is BECAUSE THEY HAVE LOST THEIR WHOLE TEAM……

everyone thinks they can go there and play right away without having to earn it

Dawg Breath Hater

January 18th, 2010
1:00 pm

cajdawg…glad to have read your first hand account of your recent visit to the chicken-making capital of the world, Gainesville, Georgia….now you can head on down south (like most of the top recruits are doing) from the Atlanta area and to the real Gainesville…..in Florida…where the only thing that falls regularly from the sky is playing for and winning championships….not dreaming about it.

Ludowici

January 18th, 2010
1:01 pm

“should have went somewhere?” How about, “should have gone somewhere.” We pay attention in class on this side of the Altamahaw.

Dawg Breath Hater

January 18th, 2010
1:01 pm

Top Dawg….the same one that slapped your team silly last November and will do it again this coming November. You can count on it.

David Pollack

January 18th, 2010
1:02 pm

Now I know what they mean when they say “go out there and break a neck”.

1eyedJack

January 18th, 2010
1:05 pm

“Alligators” are ornery ’cause of their “Medula Oblongata”!

Gator Nation

January 18th, 2010
1:05 pm

Simple. He wants to go to Florida because he wants to be a WINNER. He was smart enough to bail out of Tennessee even before everythingl went down. Sure he saw and felt the team family atmosphere in Gainesville that wasn’t quite there in Knoxville with Lil “I’d rather be in Hollywood” Lane Kiffin. He’s also smart enough not to want to finish second every year in Jax…

Gator in the Hootch

January 18th, 2010
1:11 pm

Hey COACH SMITH. Mike Pouncey replaces his brother at center. James Wilson (the #1 OL in the country two years ago) steps in at guard (or maybe the #1 OG recruit in the nation last year) takes Mike’s G position. Everyone else returns on the OL. Gerald Christian steps in for Hernandez at TE. Dubose and Moore return from injury at WR. Joshua Shaw, Adrian Bushnell, or Jeremy Brown (all the very top recruits at the CB position in recent years) are ready to step in for Haden. Will Hill replaces Major Wright at FS. Joe Bostic, who is big and much faster, steps in for Spikes. ALl the other starting LBs return. Powell and Easley will soon replace Dunlap and Cunningham…and the Gators are still loaded at DE with William Green, Justin Trattou, Duke Lemmens and other young studs. The DL is loaded with Marsh, Hunter, Sanders, Howard, Brown…and will be joined by two 5 star freshman DL this summer. And Brantley begins a new story of greatness in the fall. No, dude, not much is changing in Gainesville…still a very bad dream for Georgia Bulldog fans.

Urban Liar

January 18th, 2010
1:14 pm

Glad you listened to me cause I definately will be around next year—er, lets say I will possibly living in Fla but not coaching. Would I lie??? Only to those gullible enough to believe me,lol!

Kook Kiffin

January 18th, 2010
1:15 pm

Has ANYONE said anything nice about me,boo hoo hoo? Have I ever lied like Urban Liar or Satan Sabin???

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/andy_staples/01/16/dooley.tennessee/index.html

Dr. Dave

January 18th, 2010
1:17 pm

So what’s in the Gator Kool-Aide? You lost your OC last year, your DC and recruiting director this year, and Urban is vascillating back and forth with his health/family stuff. In spite of this, all the 5 star recruits want to go there. What am I missing here?

Dawg Fud

January 18th, 2010
1:21 pm

Michael, i hope all works out for you in Gainesville. Would have loved to have you in Athens but you have made a solid decision.

Best wishes for a successful collegiate experience!

Gator Chomp'd

January 18th, 2010
1:27 pm

Dr Dave-

I got your answer.

If you want to compete at a high level, be a BCS or Natl Title contender every yr, great program, etc…then you play for the University of Florida.

Now, if you want to play for the 2nd best team in SEC East and have a chance to play at the Advocare Best Muffler Rust Remover Bowl, then you attend the University of Goergia.

ryan

January 18th, 2010
1:53 pm

I think UGA will be better under Todd Graham because Georgia is going to 3-4 defence the lineman will be bigger and faster. I mean we got the 1# DT Garrison Smith& we got TJ Strippling .

dandydawg

January 18th, 2010
1:53 pm

Les W. Moore….
You have my vote for the funniest blogger of the year. I was on floor lmao and crying at the same time.

rickINcali

January 18th, 2010
1:53 pm

That’s right… ……..Who wouldn’t want to be a Gator?”……….if you want to be a Champion …you come to Gainesville……Go Gators!!

1eyedJack

January 18th, 2010
1:54 pm

Free Dodge Chargers for everybody!

OldDawg

January 18th, 2010
2:05 pm

Gator recruiting landslide………come on man….UF’s last signing class had the LOWEST avg. SAT score of ANY team in the SEC…your football program is on quite a roll and Foley deserves kudos….but You sir show your ignorance…perhaps you are a UF grad? Perhaps the samc class as the esteemed UF grad Corine Brown?

Jesup

January 18th, 2010
2:08 pm

Ludowici dont be bustin on us from the right side of the river….GO DAWGS

ryan

January 18th, 2010
2:12 pm

I think you gator fans are getting ahead of your self Tim Tebo is gone also B. Spikes and Dunlap. You know half of the recruits will bust. I mean your QB is Brantley.

Jesup

January 18th, 2010
2:12 pm

I for one cannot argue about recruiting with florida, they have dominated this year. but last year we beat them pretty good, now if we can beat them on the field. it will make being a Bulldawg alot easier pitch next year.

Smoke Rings

January 18th, 2010
2:13 pm

I guess these recrits think that Meyer will be there for four more years. WTH has he been telling these boys?!! He’s a premadonna and an emotional disaster. Real stable coach to be going to play for guys!!!

Top Dawg

January 18th, 2010
2:15 pm

Dawg Breath Hater: So, he lied, er, changed his mind? So, his family doesn’t get him back? Methinks Urban speak with forked tongue.

Au Contraire

January 18th, 2010
2:22 pm

Ryan-
Don’t be bustin our QB Brantley. At least he played in some games and had decent numbers. You guys will have a new QB too. And last I remember when your backup QB (Logan) stepped up, he threw the ball right to Brandon Spikes.
You better hope that they don’t start thinking that the Gator LBs are part of your WR crew.
New QB (advantage Florida)

Au Contraire

January 18th, 2010
2:28 pm

I think you Dawg fans should start worrying about Mark Richt soon because he’s failure to get the Dawgs in elite form will make him a failure in Dawg Nation’s eyes…which will send him straight to looney bin admittance, a possible leave of abscence.
At least Meyer’s leave of abscence was due to his drive and much success.

Paul The Vol

January 18th, 2010
2:47 pm

I knew when he committed that he likely would go somewhere else. His own HS coach said in public that he thought Michael had committed to early in the process. You don’t have to be a genius to know what he was talking about. Having said that, he looks like a real playmaker in the Rennie Curran mold and Florida has a good one. I wish him the best.