Valdosta’s Malcolm Mitchell and Jay Rome, who both signed with Georgia last month, went down as one of the best “package deals” of the last recruiting period. Well, there’s another good two-for-one opportunity this year for some lucky team.
James DeLoach and Jonathan Taylor of Jenkins County would be a great get for any school individually. But the defensive stalwarts are best buddies and are shopping themselves as a pair.
“Everybody that has been recruiting us pretty much already knows that we want to play at the same school,” said Taylor, a 6-foot-4, 315-pound defensive tackle. “They know we’re both good players and they’d like to have both of us.”
Asked what percentage he would put on them playing together in college, Deloach laughed and said, “99.9 percent.”
The teams recruiting them don’t seem to have a problem with that. Of the 21 offers between them — Taylor has 11; DeLoach 10 — nine are from the same schools.
Georgia Tech has long had invitations extended to both players. Georgia, which had offered Taylor last August, just offered DeLoach this past Thursday.
“It’s a big deal,” DeLoach said of getting the Bulldogs’ offer. “It’s SEC man. That’s where I’ve always seen myself playing, in the SEC. As I got older and was able to look at it more and I started to look at the ACC as well. But growing up I always thought I’d play in the SEC.”
But by all accounts the Bulldogs have some catching up to do with their in-state rival.
Asked about leaders, Taylor said: “I’d have to say Georgia Tech because of all the places we’ve been so far we’ve probably been to Georgia Tech the most. So at this point I’d probably say Georgia Tech. But we’ve been to Georgia a pretty good bit, too. As far as unofficials, I’d say we’ve been to Atlanta the most, then Georgia, then Alabama, then Tennessee, then Auburn.”
DeLoach just picked up an offer from Clemson on Saturday. Taylor has received invitations from LSU and North Carolina while DeLoach has not. Otherwise, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Louisville, South Carolina and Tennessee have all offered the players as a package.
“It really hasn’t been a problem,” Taylor said of finding takers.
Generally Taylor is considered the most desirable recruit. A big, physical force on the interior defensive line, he’s projected as a four-star prospect. I included him in my “Tentative Top 10″ recruits for 2012.
But DeLoach has the quickness to also play linebacker and is considered ideal for a 3-4 defense, which both Tech and UGA employ.
“Well, I’d say he’s more like a raw stopper and I’m more like a pass rusher,” said DeLoach, a 6-3, 260-pound defensive end. “I play end and outside linebacker and he plays tackle. We’d be a good combination for somebody.”
DeLoach and Taylor were a package long before they became elite recruits. They said they’ve been best pals since they were very young.
“We’ve been close ever since elementary school and middle school,” Taylor said. “Since we’ve both been involved in all this recruiting stuff, we’re basically like brothers now. We’ve just grown closer together.”
That said, making up their minds is not going to be easy, especially with regard to the in-state courtiers.
“Right now it’s pretty hard because they’re both pretty good teams and they both want us,” Taylor said. “So they’re working us pretty hard right now.”
So, it seems, are a lot of folks.
By Chip Towers, The College Recruiting Blog