Nick Saban to Atlanta RB: You can’t sign with Alabama until 2013
One of Georgia’s top running backs said that was told by Alabama’s Nick Saban this weekend that he will have to wait until next year to sign with the Crimson Tide.
Justin Taylor of North Atlanta High School has been committed to Alabama for nearly a year, last February becoming the No. 7 pledge for this year’s class. The 5-foot-11, 208-pounder missed his senior season with a knee injury.
A couple of weeks ago, Taylor and his high school coach, former NFL RB Stanley Pritchett, both said they were informed by Alabama assistant Chris Rumph that it was likely that Taylor would not be able to sign with the Crimson Tide this February.
Alabama’s 2012 recruiting class is currently ranked as No. 1 in the nation by Rivals.com. Alabama has 27 commitments and is in the running for a few more elite prospects. The Crimson Tide is also accused of being one of the most frequent offenders in the practice of “over-signing” – which is when a college signs more players than they have scholarships available. (Click to go to website)
Alabama's Nick Saban still has seven Georgia players that will sign on Feb. 1 after telling Justin Taylor to wait until next year (AP photo)
Back to Taylor: He took his official visit to Alabama this weekend and had the chance to sit down for a face-to-face meeting with Saban:
- How did Nick Saban explain it to you? “Coach Saban said he wished he would’ve been able to tell me this in August instead of now. He said the only reason he can’t sign me is because he can’t sign 26 people. They can only sign 25 people. He said he was going to sign me with the next class. But he also said he would sign a piece of paper to show that they are keeping their word – they are going to sign it and they want me to sign it to make sure I know I still have my scholarship.”
- When did Alabama first tell you that you couldn’t sign with them this February? “Coach Rumph actually told me about two weeks ago. Well, he called my coach, who told me, and then I called Coach Rumph. This weekend was the first time that they really broke it down like that. This was the first time I heard it from Coach Saban.”
- What do you think happened? “Coach Saban just said I’m the 26th commitment. I would be the 26th signee. I guess he went and picked up somebody else. He said I make 26 and they only get 25. They talked about bringing me in next January.” [Note: Alabama has 27 commitments]
- What was your reaction? “I’m cool with it, as long as I get to Alabama and play. And, as long as I have more time to recover and get solid.”
- What will do you do this fall? “He said I’m going to stay in Georgia. They are going to find me a job. I’m going to work. I’m going to physical therapy at least seven days per week. I guess I will work, go to physical therapy and get strong … I will come in with the class of 2013. I’ll get there with the early group so I can do winter workouts and spring football.”
- What about this piece of paper that you said Saban would sign? “Coach Saban is going to sign his name on a sheet of paper saying that I still have my scholarship. It was just for me. It’s to say they really still want me.”
RB Justin Taylor has been committed to Alabama for nearly a year (Photo courtesy of 247sports.com)
- What is the status of your knee injury from August? “I’m good right now. I’ve already had the surgery and everything. I’m running right now. They want me to be 100-percent healthy. They said it takes at least a year [to recover]. They said yeah, some can bounce back in 5-6 months. But the only people who bounce back in 5-6 months are the ones in college because there are on campus and they have that physician to be there seven days per week. I don’t have that. I only work out two days per week with my physical therapist.”
- Do you think you could play this fall? “I feel like I could play this fall.”
- With Saban saying you cannot sign with Alabama this year, will that make you look at other colleges? “I’m going to go ahead and stick with Alabama. I mean, I’m committed to them. They committed to me. They want me. I know they want me because that’s what they are telling me. If they didn’t want me, they wouldn’t let me keep my scholarship, They could’ve taken it when I first got hurt. If any other college wanted me, they would’ve hit me up. I haven’t really heard from anybody since the injury.”
- What other schools were recruiting you the hardest? “Tennessee came through and I only talked to them one time. They gave me a number and the number didn’t even work. There was South Carolina and Georgia. They both stopped talking to me because I was committed to Alabama.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT OVER THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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