UPDATE: Justin Taylor still pledged to Alabama for 2013 but considering options

Nick Saban told Justin Taylor's coach he didn't like the NCAA's new 25-scholarship rule (AP)

Nick Saban told Justin Taylor's coach he didn't like the NCAA's new 25-scholarship rule (AP)

Here are Monday’s updates on Justin Taylor:

He’s the running back from North Atlanta High School who has been committed to Alabama for nearly a year but was told by Nick Saban this weekend that he can’t sign with the Crimson Tide until 2013. Go here to read the recap.

The 5-foot-10, 208-pound Taylor is considering the option of signing with another school in two weeks, according to multiple media reports, although it’s unclear on whether or not Taylor is still committed to Alabama for 2013. Here’s what Taylor told al.com’s Matt Scalici:

“At first I was cool with it but the more I thought about it, the less I liked it,” Taylor said. “I have already missed an entire season of football because of my injury. I decided I just can’t miss another season. It’s no hard feelings against Alabama but I just decided it’s best for me if I go somewhere that I can be at least practicing with the team this year, even if I have to redshirt. I haven’t talked to any other schools yet but I will start looking right now.”

UPDATE: We asked Taylor for clarification on whether or not he was still committed to Alabama. He responded via text message on late Monday night: “Yes, I’m still committed [to Alabama].”

Back to the story: Taylor’s high school coach and legal guardian is Stanley Pritchett, who played fullback in the NFL for nine seasons, including a stint with the Atlanta Falcons. We asked Pritchett some questions on Monday night in order to get more insight:

What do you think is the primary reason for Alabama telling Justin Taylor he can't sign until 2013?

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  • What’s your understanding of the situation? “If a kid has been committed for a year, you would think the college would honor it. But I understand college football is a business. When you hit the 25-scholarship limit, the colleges have to do something. It’s a hard situation for me because I’m also the legal guardian for Justin. I have to look at it from all sides. I’m upset about it. I kind of understand where Alabama is coming from because unfortunately he hurt this knee. But I was mad when [Alabama assistant Chris Rumph] called me about it two weeks ago. He knew I was mad. We played together at South Carolina. He knows me, and he knows how I feel about this. He assured me about [signing in 2013]. I left it up to Justin. If he still wanted to go to Alabama under those circumstances, that was up to him. For me, personally, I would go to a school where I am wanted. That’s just me.”
  • One of the benefits for a recruit to commit early is that it almost always protects the recruit’s scholarship offer in case he is injured before signing a letter-of-intent. Was this scenario discussed with Alabama when Justin committed last February? “To be honest with you, I don’t know. I’m not sure how all of all of this works nowadays. I’m an old-school guy. When I came out of high school 20 years ago, we didn’t commit until late our senior year. I’m new to ‘committing early’ situation. I guess Alabama got too many commitments and that’s why Justin has to grayshirt. It’s a tough situation. When they told me about it two weeks ago, I was mad.”
  • When Justin injured his knee last August, did Alabama mention the possibility of a “grayshirt” and waiting until next year to sign? “No, they never said anything like that at all. They were good about it. They made it clear they still wanted him this year. They said they were going to stick by him and honor the scholarship. They kept saying that over and over – ‘We’re going to stick by him.’”
  • When was the first time Alabama mentioned the possibility of delaying his offer until next year? “It was two weeks ago from Coach Rumph. We never had talked about it before at all. [Rumph] explained how they would have a spot for him next year, and I don’t think they would do this to him again next year. Then again, you never know, because college football is still a business. They might decide to go in a different direction. You never know.”
  • What is your opinion on what happened between Alabama and Justin? “I think it was both Justin’s injury and that Alabama has too many commitments. But Coach Saban said it was just the injury. They told me they talked to their trainers and the doctor who did the surgery and that Justin was on schedule with his rehab but he wasn’t really where he needed to be. I guess it was because he wasn’t getting every-day treatment. He goes 2-3 times per week but not every day like they do in college or the NFL. They felt like he was kind of behind on his rehab. I don’t think he’s behind on his rehab. He’s jogging and doing everything he’s supposed to be doing. The first few months after a torn ACL, you can’t take it too fast because you might re-injure it. After Alabama told me all of that stuff, I called his trainer and she thinks he is progressing well. I don’t know. Alabama told me it was because of his knee. They didn’t feel like he would be ready to come in August and compete. But I guess you could say it was both. Look at their number of commitments [27], and they’re still recruiting kids. You know it’s going to be about the numbers. They’re trying to say the knee but it’s really about the scholarship numbers, in my opinion … I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed with the whole process. If a kid commits and the college accepts it, then the college should honor it.”
    Will Justin Taylor wait until 2013 to sign with Alabama? Will he sign elsewhere in two weeks? (Photo courtesy of 247sports.com)

    Will Justin Taylor wait until 2013 to sign with Alabama? Will he sign elsewhere in two weeks? (Photo courtesy of 247sports.com)

  • Taylor said he was “90 percent” recovered right now and will be fully healthy by the summer. Is that accurate? “He’s jogging. I don’t know if he’s at 90-percent but he just started working out again with the football team this week. I think he’d be able to play next year, but I’m not a doctor so I can’t make that call. I know his physical therapist thinks he’ll be fine by August. She thinks he is where he needs to be. She said he’s coming along so well that he might be able to run track this spring.”
  • Did Alabama offer to help Justin find a job this fall? “I wasn’t with Justin every time he talked with the Alabama coaches. But that never came up in any of the conversations I was present for. No.”
  • You were with Justin during some of his conversations with Saban this past weekend. What stands out the most? “Coach Saban explained everything and never said anything about the scholarship numbers. Well, the only thing he did say was that the NCAA had a rule about signing 25. He didn’t like the rule or whatever, blah blah blah, and all that. He said this was because of Justin’s knee and nothing else. I asked Coach Saban about the grayshirting. I said ‘What does this mean? What do you want him to do from summer time until December?’ He said Justin would stay in Atlanta, that he would be committed to Alabama but that he could be recruited by anybody. They said he couldn’t go to Alabama yet but that he could take some classes at a community college as a part-time student while getting more rehab. I wanted to know about all of that because that will be two years out of football for Justin. I told Justin ‘If you’re good with that, then I’ll support you.’ Personally, I wouldn’t be good with that, though. I would go to a Plan B if it was me.”

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT OVER THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

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Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

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526 comments Add your comment

Clemson's defense did what?

January 16th, 2012
6:55 pm

So, Saban signs all kinds of contracts, gives his word and he means absolutely none of it WHAT A LIAR SABAN is! Can you actually believe someone is actually making Auburn look good? Is that the most screwed up state in the union or what?

John

January 16th, 2012
6:56 pm

This goes to show who dirty the recruitment process is and how cutthroat certain schools are. UGA and TECH fans may complain about Coach Richt and Coach Johnson but these are honorable men that keep their word and not try to by-pass the spirit of the NCAA rules. Good Luck Justin and Good Looking out Stanley. Astros forever……..

foothills

January 16th, 2012
6:59 pm

If this is indeed the way it played out, then Pritchett should have ripped Rumph a new one, kissed ‘Bama good-night, and started marketing his kid to another school right then. Satan is gonna tell these kids that they are the greatest thing between two hash marks….until he finds someone he likes better… a scheme he has taught Derek Dooley well. Don’t think Pritchett did this young man any favors.

That Guy

January 16th, 2012
7:00 pm

Justin, come on over to GT where you will be treated the right way.

Walker, Texas Ranger

January 16th, 2012
7:02 pm

so predictable

Walker, Texas Ranger

January 16th, 2012
7:03 pm

sounds like he won’t play next fall either way because of the injury

uga_alum_93

January 16th, 2012
7:06 pm

Winning doesn’t produce class that is for sure.

WnE

January 16th, 2012
7:08 pm

Too late Coach Pritchett!

You were about to let your recruit get “played” by Bama and then you read all the blog responses and all the outrage over the way Bama was treating him and NOW you wanna come out and “talk tough” and “tell it like it is”.

Were it not for the AJC blog and the angry responses, there’s no way you’d be saying the things that you are saying now.

Shame on you coach Pritchett, you waited to late.

T'ville Dawg

January 16th, 2012
7:10 pm

This has happened several times at UGA and the first thing that coach Richt does is let the player know that his scholarship is safe there, once a dog always a dog.

gadawg92

January 16th, 2012
7:12 pm

Sounds like coach is still mad. Don’t blame him. This is all about the over commitments. Maybe UGA could use some competition in the backfield. Redshirt next year and rehab. Come in with Henry.

P. Bull Terrier

January 16th, 2012
7:15 pm

I would like to hear what the NCAA has to say about Saban signing a contract with a player to be part of next year’s class and finding him a job while he waits around for a year to sign. I can’t believe both of those things wouldn’t be violations of recruiting rules.

kindstar

January 16th, 2012
7:15 pm

You should have left at Washington where he had talent around him. They look at flip-floppers too. yeah go to Tech, they can use you right away at FB.

Randall

January 16th, 2012
7:16 pm

They have a NC but it sounds like low lifes over there, maybe other Georgia people will remember the real side of bama football. Use em up and move em along, I guess if you can’t help me your on your own attitude.

bh

January 16th, 2012
7:16 pm

typical crap from the likes of Alabama. Where is the media on this? Where are the “talking heads” on ESPN on this? It’s a joke! Why don’t they have the guts to call a spade a spade!

EDIMGIAFAD

January 16th, 2012
7:19 pm

Dude – It’s a business and your product isn’t what Bama wants. Now you have to decide do you want to wait and play for Bama or do you want to play football? Clearly – you aren’t going to college for an education, so figure out how you want to market yourself as a football player.

P. Bull Terrier

January 16th, 2012
7:19 pm

Stanley Pritchett sounds like a man walking the line between several serious conflicts of interest and not doing a very good job of it.

Columbus_Dawg

January 16th, 2012
7:19 pm

How can a coach of a High School team not understand how “early signing” works?

EDIMGIAFAD

January 16th, 2012
7:21 pm

@ Bull Terrier – He hasn’t signed so the NCAA doesn’t care – once he and Bama sign the paper, it’s a different story.

Hummon

January 16th, 2012
7:21 pm

Hoping for a little cosmic justice on this one, like this fellow – wherever he goes – plays a big role in a victory over the Tide. Probably a little too much to hope for, but I can dream.

Rick James

January 16th, 2012
7:26 pm

I’m glad that somebody who ever it was got it figured out.If Alabama wanted Justin it says to me that he can play anywhere.He will land on his feet.

George Stein

January 16th, 2012
7:26 pm

I hope he gets the chance to go somewhere and play. But mostly, I hope his knee is healthy and stays healthy.

Jefferson Davis Hogg

January 16th, 2012
7:28 pm

Just saw he was just offered from Purdue!

Jborodawg

January 16th, 2012
7:29 pm

Have to agree, ‘bh’, you won’t hear much of this on ESPN…where he’s Saint Saban. Remember, he stated emphatically, on December 21, 2006 “I’m not going to be the Alabama coach….I am not leaving Miami…”

JD

January 16th, 2012
7:30 pm

Redshirt at a school next year other than Alabama. That way, you get your rehab done and get classes going toward a degree. Don’t care where you go but Alabama pulled a fast one with this kid. Of course, they will say kids do this to them every year by committing and the changing their minds at the last minute.

CYA Kid

January 16th, 2012
7:32 pm

Alabama is not Georgia. Georgia gave one kid a scholarship from Jacksonville who substained a serious knee injury during his senior year. The kid got healthy on Georgia’s dime. A year later, the kid transferred out to VT after giving some lame excuse about disagreement with Joe T.

big dawg

January 16th, 2012
7:33 pm

I have heard from a reliable resource that they had offered a total of 78 high school players across several states a spot on their team. They r weeding out players with liabilities and taking the best ones and dumping on the rest. So if I was a kid coming out of high school I wouldn’t even think of giving Saban the time of days because his words means nothing!!! All the reports indicate just how much he doesn’t care for his athletes.. He only wants to win to get more pay… Nothing personal about Alabama… He should be fined or sanctioned by SEC

RambleOn84

January 16th, 2012
7:33 pm

There’s not much Tech fans and Georgie fans can agree on…
But I think we can all agree that Saban is a scumbag.

RambleOn84

January 16th, 2012
7:35 pm

Saban is trash

Frankly

January 16th, 2012
7:37 pm

Sadly this will not be the only kid Bama disappoints on or before signing day. Roll ‘em Saban, roll ‘em.

Jacket Man

January 16th, 2012
7:39 pm

This incident should show every prospect that they need to seriously think about their life after football when they select their school, and then work hard to get a degree. Most players never make an NFL roster, and life’s not fair. Be smart with your decisions and realize for many college coaches, recruiting is just a means to an ends – they have egos, or for some, they have to win or they may lose their jobs.

Best of luck to this young man. It sounds like he’s working his way back from his physical issues and deserves a shot at his dream. Perhaps he’ll find another school which will make him happy, and he’ll have a chance to show the Crimson Tide they made a huge mistake.

Bubba Mutt

January 16th, 2012
7:49 pm

Way to go Stanley….dang, it’s good to know that someone is looking out for the kids’ welfare…because Saban sure isn’t….I’m UGA all the way, but Prichett I hope your alma mater will give this kid a scholarship.

brookcy88

January 16th, 2012
7:50 pm

Here;s my question: If Alabama already has 25 committments and they are still on the list for several other top players who are not committed whose next on their list if a high tier player gives them a committment. It’s a shame and somebody else’s son is going to miss out on a scholarship opportunity on signing day just watch.

The Grinch

January 16th, 2012
7:55 pm

WnE
January 16th, 2012
7:08 pm

Uh oh, looks like the Mulligan U faithful are venting their frustration at an AJC writer and those who responded to his blog. And Mulligan U fans call UGA fans crybabies. BWAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Dumbo

January 16th, 2012
7:58 pm

P.Bull….I agree with you about the signing papers for next year and somebody getting the kid a job is way outta bounds….as much as I’d like to see the NCAA investigate, we now know that nothing will happen…wonder what thye think in the SEC offices….oh yeah, that’s right….their in Birmingham….no chance

Old Gold Britches

January 16th, 2012
8:03 pm

Saban said “Justin would stay in Atlanta, that he would be committed to Alabama but that he could be recruited by anybody. They said he couldn’t go to Alabama yet but that he could take some classes at a community college as a part-time student while getting more rehab”. Sound like Saban is trying to save face, but “”HE CAN BE RECRUITED BY ANYBODY”” is what Saban hopes Justin Taylor heard hoping he goes away.

Best of luck to you Justin!

paint

January 16th, 2012
8:03 pm

good comments jacket man

dennis

January 16th, 2012
8:05 pm

saban has to run off about 10 kids every year from over signing. some will transfer. some will take medical schollys and some will be dismissed for violating team rules. just last year when auburn temporarily flipped one of his recruits he started saying how a commitment should mean something and a kid shouldnt be able to just change his mind. he also said that a kid should man up and honor the commitment he made in good faith. i guess this is only the case if someone isn’t injured. or when its saban trying to flip them from another team like he did to lsu and auburn this year.

dennis

January 16th, 2012
8:08 pm

saban is a lying hippocrite. he runs his program like a professional team. everybody has players leave their program. nobody has 10 leaving every year because of severe oversigning

Make My Day

January 16th, 2012
8:11 pm

Sorry for the young man. In the end he suffered a very bad injury. Those type injuries vary so much in their recovery from player to player. He apparently has a great deal of recovery time left before he will be permitted to practice full strenght and take some hits. Is it worth the price to re-injure the knee? I just think if a kid is going to take a chance he needs to approach it very cautiously until he is 100%.

GT Man

January 16th, 2012
8:11 pm

This kid has a bad knee, soon as MTSU, Memphis or Troy offers, then look for PJ to go after and offer.

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Rj4055

January 16th, 2012
8:15 pm

So it would be okay for him to go and be scout team @ Alabama? And then try to transfer if he was unhappy? Sounds like Coach Saban did him a favor. There are two five star freshmen already on campus plus TJ Yeldon. yeah he could break through but odds are not good.

KnightInATL

January 16th, 2012
8:18 pm

Just another example of how HS recruiting is nonsenese and an utter waste of time to follow. It’s disgusting how the coaches treat the players, and vice versa. Its disgusting how these kids give the word that they will sign and verbally commit…only to flip to another school. It disgusts me how these kids have their own news conferences and place hats in front of them and then choose a school while everyone in the room waits with baited breath. This Alabama fiasco with this kid is just another in the long lines of the dirty world of recruiting. I’m done wasting my time following recruiting. I’ll just wait for NSD and see who signed where.

Beast from the East

January 16th, 2012
8:19 pm

If I was this kid, I’d say to h3ll with you, Saban. I’m spilling the beans about the offer to get me a job and I’m going elsewhere.

Tampa Gator

January 16th, 2012
8:19 pm

Saban should have just told the kid that the injury results in Bama withdrawing its offer and that he should look elsewhere to play college football. I think the kid should not sign with anyone this year….go to a JC somewhere….get healthy….and then let Saban come crawling back to him on hands and knees.

Joe

January 16th, 2012
8:19 pm

Absolutely horrible. Saban is a modern-day slaveowner. Nothing more, nothing less. Atrocious to read about this on Dr. King’s day. Have we really come that far? All these kids are lead to believe that they have to make the NFL or nothing, and they get sham degrees from colleges who are pimping them out for BILLIONS. It’s criminal.

Taco Meat

January 16th, 2012
8:24 pm

Pathetic. He could’ve honored the scholly and threw a redshirt on the kid until he got healthy. Just pathetic.

Blackoutanyone?

January 16th, 2012
8:29 pm

AJC pushing that agenda. Why not ask what other programs want to bring him in THIS year? I can not support waiting so late in the process to tell him of his situation… yet Bama may be the only school offering him a scholly at his point. But we don’t know because that would not interfere with this spin job.

D. Ellis

January 16th, 2012
8:32 pm

Actually Purdue just offered

D. Ellis

January 16th, 2012
8:36 pm

Look no rule was broken. To each his own I suppose.

Legality wise everything is 100% good to go.

Ethically not so much.

Real question is if this was T.J. Yeldon the 5* would this be going the same way?

My opinion is no…..Yeldon would be brought in and redshirted in 2012.

Again no harm no foul on the rules part, but it just aint right.

whatever though it’s college football