Alabama’s Nick Saban to stick by football scholarship to RB Justin Taylor after season-ending knee injury

If a player is already committed and then gets injured, should the college feel obligated to honor the offer?

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Alabama will stick by its football scholarship to one of Georgia’s top running backs after his season-ending knee injury.

Justin Taylor tore the ACL in his right knee last week in practice.  North Atlanta High School coach Stanley Pritchett said he talked with Alabama assistant Chris Rumph.

“Alabama said they are going to stay committed to him,” Pritchett told the AJC. “That’s a good thing, you know, when a team will stick by a guy who is injured. That’s really good by Alabama. And I know Justin will work hard to get his knee back right and be ready to go next season in college.”

Pritchett, the former NFL player, is scheduled to discuss his star player with Alabama coach Nick Saban by the end of the week. “We’ll be talking with Coach Saban and some of the Alabama doctors to kind of see how they want to go about the surgery,” Prichett said. “We want to stay in close contact with them, and follow their lead as far their input and feedback on Justin’s rehabilitation and recovery.”

The injury was a big blow for Taylor, who was starting to make his case to be Georgia’s No. 1-ranked college prospect at running back. He rushed for 120 yards in the season-opener.

Nick Saban has 7 commitments from Georgia for 2012 (AP)

Nick Saban has 7 commitments from Georgia for 2012 (AP)

“Justin took it hard at first,” Taylor said. “Then I talked to him and he’s staying positive. He knows it’s not the end of the world. He just has to move on and get his knee stronger, making sure this never happens again … and continue to work on his grades.”

How will North Atlanta handle the loss to Taylor? “It’s a tough blow,” Pritchett said. “He has been with me since he was a ninth-grader and I’ve never really seen him injured so this is kind of tough. He’s a big part of our team, probably our best leader. Now that we’ve lost him, somebody else is going to have to step up and take his role.”

In case you missed it over the holiday weekend …

  • Younger brother of ex-UGA standout commits to Oregon State over waiting on Bulldogs (click on story link)
  • Remember June Jones, former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons? Jones is at SMU and landed one of Georgia’s top 2013 QBs, Lassiter’s Eddie Printz (click on story link)
  • Who was vocal in his support of Mark Richt after the Boise State loss? None other than the nation’s No. 1 RB (click on story link)

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85 comments Add your comment


September 6th, 2011
10:40 am

Good job on the part of Alabama if they stick with the kid. Good luck to him.


September 6th, 2011
10:40 am

Why would he not? It’s good for business.

Never trust Saban

September 6th, 2011
10:41 am

I will believe this when I see it in February. Nick Saban is the master of lying to kids about their scholarship situation and medical hardships. Count on Saban encouraging Taylor to go to another school.


September 6th, 2011
10:43 am

Alabama is going to have input on his surgery and rehab?


September 6th, 2011
10:46 am

Only with Nick Saban would this be considered news. A slew of college coaches each year stick with commitments to high school seniors that incur season-ending injuries. But it actually qualifies as news because this is such an aberration for Saban.
Now, if he would honor all of the scholarships for those players he already has on campus, instead of “processing” them….THAT would be real news.

give me a break......

September 6th, 2011
11:15 am

this guy is one of the biggest abusers of over signing in the country.

this is nothing more than a little pr.

i guarantee that behind the scenes bama will cast of players leaving them without a college to attend faster than you can say snake.


September 6th, 2011
11:22 am

What a wonderful guy. What made him change his practice of kicking a player off to take care of the many oversigned players each year?

David C

September 6th, 2011
11:38 am

For all the Saban Haters. This shows he does have a heart for players committed to Program.

dawg catcher

September 6th, 2011
11:54 am

Too many of our fans are mentally off. Our program in Athens is in trouble and all we can do is complain about a program honoring a scholarship to an injuried player? Grow up and look at our own failures the past 3 years.


September 6th, 2011
11:59 am

A class act by a very good coach…..


September 6th, 2011
12:03 pm

good move by Saban and Alabama. hopefully they will continue to do the right thing. best of luck to Mr Taylor on his rehab as well.


September 6th, 2011
12:10 pm

Best of luck on his rehab.

Destin Dawg

September 6th, 2011
12:12 pm

Looking forward to Sat…. we need to redeem ourselves… but I don’t think Bo Bo and Richt can beat Spurrier…. nervous to start with… can we try Hutson Mason??? Murray’s passing was off… how about Boo Malcome ??? I’ve been a Richt supporter… but he needs to call the plays or move on !!! Bo Bo can’t get it !!!


September 6th, 2011
12:43 pm

Obviously, the surgery and rehab decisions are up to the kid and his parents, but they’d be fools not to get advice from Alabama. You’ve got one of the top football programs in the country, and assumedly some of the best orthopedic doctors associated with the university, as a consultant.


September 6th, 2011
12:46 pm

They’ll take you kid, but if you don’t fully recover, prepare for CUTDOWN day next year..

Exactly, Worm...

September 6th, 2011
1:05 pm

…while this is a nice gesture by UA, or by any school for that matter, the most telling part of the article and conversation with his HS coach is the “and continue to work on his grades.” With Saban, it will likely turn out that the kid just did not make the grades so they had to revoke his offer…


September 6th, 2011
1:25 pm

@DestinDawg I think CMR should move Samuals back to LB and, let Boo be the 2nd running back in light of Tree’s injury myself but what do I know right

Real Problem

September 6th, 2011
1:36 pm

Wish the kid the best of recoveries…..Bama is a class program, but in fairness I think almost all SEC schools would have done the same.

Frank Lane

September 6th, 2011
2:02 pm

I think honoring the offer and the verbal commitment is good. But since this kid has not signed yet, would not the Alabama staff getting involved in his surgical decisions be a violation of NCAA rules? How could they do that and not violate the contact rules, etc.? I am confused.

Chi Town

September 6th, 2011
2:04 pm

Props to Lord Saban.



September 6th, 2011
2:33 pm

Coach Saban your integrity speaks volumes! Looking forward to Kenyan Drake, Dakota Ball, Justin Taylor, Dillon Lee and the rest of them Georgia boys joining a future National Champion!

Brown Dog

September 6th, 2011
2:46 pm

Again, if Saban were such a fiend wouldn’t he have trouble filling his classes, much less being ranked in the top 5 four years running?

He signed Jeoffrey Pagan out of Asheville last year despite the kid’s severe knee injury. He was the first coach to the Quinn family, telling them Robert’s scholaership was good no matter how his brain surgery turned out.

Sorry guys, but nothing is as black and white as it seems. Try looking into the gray sometime.


September 6th, 2011
3:45 pm


Jackets 2011

September 6th, 2011
4:20 pm

14% say business decision.
You guy are sick.

No parents involved?

September 6th, 2011
5:24 pm

Atlanta has fine orthopaedic surgeons. We have PRO SPORTS here and my own knee surgeon worked on Mike Vick’s knee, so why would I go Birmingham or Mobile for surgery???Why would U of Alabama have ANY input in the kid’s surgery?? That is odd to me.

This is very odd. Does the kid’s parent(s) WAIT for Bama to tell them how to think and what to do??


September 6th, 2011
5:36 pm

Birmingham has The Doctor James Andrews – Do you know if him?


September 6th, 2011
6:54 pm

Alabama signs 12 Georgia players…everyone wishes to play for a winner..thats not UGA as you know..Alabama is a Winner. Can’t blame the kids.


September 6th, 2011
6:57 pm

Destin dawg..I watch UGA game and watched SC game..I believe SC will win by 13 points at least. Hope I’m wrong.


September 6th, 2011
7:12 pm

I am disappointed that the AJC would actually print this for the headlines. If Justin Taylor’s coach hasn’t spoken with him about the over signing issue at Alabama, he is misleading this young man. This is a provable fact and it is laughable that Carvell, who I think normally does a great job of covering recruiting, fell for this ploy.

It’s not like Saban can come out and say, “We will honor his scholly until I get 3 more backs to commit and choose which one I will honor in early February.”

Bama Fan#2

September 6th, 2011
7:18 pm

Justin hang in there and good things will happen for you and Alabama will
see that you get the best surgeon in the state of Alabama. Dr Cain or
Dr Andrews will do a wonderful job. RTR


September 6th, 2011
7:52 pm

Hi there, I have not read everyones blog statement, but this is small info but I’m pretty sure Coach Stanley Pritchett does not coach at North Atlanta High, at first I really thought he was coaching at Douglas High (the school he attended in High School) of course I googled it, Stanley Pritchett coaches at B.T. Washington High School.

Athens Tider

September 6th, 2011
8:49 pm

Why is it that losers (Never Trust Saban, give me a break) are so jealous of winners (Saban)? Could it be because your school can’t even sniff a national championship?


September 6th, 2011
8:53 pm


Joe t

September 6th, 2011
9:22 pm

Sabah wants me to condition all of his opponents next year

Joe t

September 6th, 2011
9:22 pm

Sabah wants me to condition all of his opponents next year

Phil fulmer

September 6th, 2011
9:27 pm

Steve superior could out scheme fat grantham in his sleep. Ugh is the only school desperate enough to pay $750,000 year for that joke.


September 7th, 2011
12:37 am

Some of you people are just sad. Good luck to this young man in his recovery. As for “oversigning”. Saban has a plan and is up front with each and every athlete and their family before they except a scholarship offer to UA. On the other hand…this is what happens when you can’t manage your roster.

Self imposed probation.


September 7th, 2011
12:54 am

So, Chizik rewards walkons who have been working hard and earned something, bammer promises scholarships to too many and then forces some of them to take a greyshirt and Blackout is proud? Ain’t that just like a bamzo? Integrity is unknown to them.

[...] Alabama will honor football scholarship to RB after season-ending injury (click on story link) [...]


September 7th, 2011
6:35 am

Didn’t I read that Taylor had given thought to opening his recruiting back up a few weeks ago?

Lowcountry Bulldawg

September 7th, 2011
8:37 am

I am anti Saban but I respect the man,

If you have any questions about this offer go look up how Saban handled the Robert Quinn situation. Quinn was diagnosed with a Brain Tumor and Saban told him he had a scholarship at Bama if he played football or not.

Justin just needs to stay positive, rehab hard and keep the grades up. Just do the right thing and he will be rewarded for it. Good luck!


September 7th, 2011
8:56 am

Some of your people are just too stupid to make fun of. For all of your Nick Saban know it alls, please show me one instance where a commit was injured in high school and Saban dropped his scholarship? Bring up another one where we were recruiting an uncommitted kid who gets injured and we quit recruiting them. We signed Jeff Pagan last year (UGA fans know who he is) who tore his ACL last year. Saban never stopped recruiting that kid and what do you know, he played in the season opener last week. We also recruited Robert Quinn who ultimately chose UNC over Alabama (now we all know why) and he had a brain tumor just before his senior year. You guys really need to give this crap a rest with Saban. Maybe if your coach was more strict with his scholarships and did what was perfectly in the realm of what is legal under NCAA rules, your program would not be a national laughing stock and your coach would not have a “must win” game coming up on Saturday.


September 7th, 2011
8:59 am

MikeP…its almost too easy. The Chiz offer scholarship to walk-ons at AU because he can only sign so many in a year. If it werent for all of those recruits over the last 5 years that realized they didnt want to play on that cow pasture of a campus, AU would not be offering scholarships to walk-ons either.


September 7th, 2011
9:34 am

MikeP-no one in the world of college athletics thinks auburn or their buffoon coach has any integrity. Cam Newton_$180k(find the money), the 3 players on HBO that admitted getting paid, the 4 players arrested for home invasion, etc,…Also last 3 years chesdik has signed 84 players and Saban has signed 75 so don’t let facts get in the way of your argument.


September 7th, 2011
9:37 am

Yeah, SEC. They just hate playing on a national championship team and whipping their in-state rival 8 of the last 11 years. Horrible experiences!


September 7th, 2011
9:51 am

I hope it works out better for Saban with this kid, than the kid UGA wasted two years on at OL position. Maybe this young man has what it take and UGA’s kid lacked. Knee injuries are always risky for recovery but I wish this young man the best in his pursuit.


September 7th, 2011
10:10 am

As a die hard DAWG fan, the hate for Saban is something I am not sure I understand. I may not lioke him, because he is the enemy, but I have to admire his approcah to the whole thing. Alabama hired the man to manage a multi million dollar enterprise and build it up. That is what he is doing and doing largely successful. College football is a business and Saban runs a very successful business. When you consider a program like UGA takes in 51 million dollars for one season, wouldn’t you like to have a successful CEO, that puts things into perspective and makes a profit by putting out a good product? That is exactly what he does. I wish he didn’t because I surely am no fan of anything Alabama but the facts speak for themselves. He gets the job done. Why should we expect the college football world to be any different from the corporate world when you are dealing with the kind of money, they are dealing with. He still attracts a lot of talent so a lot of parents must not disagree with what he does or their kids would not be going to the Tide. Maybe they realize that once the kid goes to college, it is time to start growing up and that kid has a responsibility to deliver his half of the deal. If he can’t, be it injury, academics or attitude, he will lose the opportunity that he had. Cold hard facts, but evidentally, sound business practices, since the results can not be denied. As much as I care about CMR as a man, in retrospect, I wish sometimes he was a little more business and a little less father figure. After all DAWG fans, isn’t winning everything to most of you who are on these blogs?



September 7th, 2011
10:36 am

The Evil Genius,

You will not beat UGA this week, UGA will beat UGA. UGA has plenty of talent, it is just not being coached to win. Week 2, and the coaches are already in the survival plan mode. We need some innovation in our coaching staff and UGA fans, for the most part realize it isn’t happening right now.

GO DAWGS and GATA somehow


September 7th, 2011
12:28 pm

you can thank CMR for that


September 7th, 2011
3:41 pm

Haters gonna hate!

We Tide fans love Coach Saban! Just another example of a class guy.

Sorry Dawg fans I’ve got to go watch that BCS title game from 2009. It’s just soooo sweet!

I’d wish you guys luck in getting there but it wouldn’t do any good. 31 YEARS AND COUNTING! LOL!