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

TVFan

January 16th, 2012
8:42 pm

I wish Georgia Tech, UGA, Ga. State or Georgia Southern would offer this kid. Alabama use to be my second favorite team. Not anymore.

SECIsFootball

January 16th, 2012
8:45 pm

dennis….for the record, who are the 10 he ran off last year? How about the year before? My guess is your will have no answer for this.

dawgster

January 16th, 2012
8:46 pm

No way to spin this other than it wasn’t the right thing to do….And how long had he been committed to Bama…I’m not going to get all high and mighty on this, there may have been concerns over his injury, but still based on the info out there right now, it was the wrong thing to do at this stage…But on the other hand, there are many times the recruits change there mind and leave a school holding the bag at the last minute also….Just so I’m clear, I’m not defending Bama by any means, but it works both ways too…I wish people would look up the word committment and what it means….I’m sure the young man will be offered other scholarships….Don’t know if the dawgs will bite, but I hope he gets plenty of offers…This is why all the articles were written about Saban and Bama’s recruiting practices not by just the AJC, but many other outlets….Bama is not the only one either that seems to do this….The SEC and NCAA have to get rid of some of the loopholes that enable some of these schools….Good Luck Mr. Taylor….go dawgs

cuzsignedwithUGA

January 16th, 2012
8:46 pm

What do you think from people that drove tractors to see satan land!!!!

Ramblin Man

January 16th, 2012
8:47 pm

GT MAN CPJ offered Justin a year ago and the only reason other schools have not pursued him harder is because has been steadfast in his bama commitment.

dawgster

January 16th, 2012
8:48 pm

On another note, it appears tha Gunner Kiel has decommitted from LSU and is enrolling in Notre Dame…Thats what is being reported in several outlets, including the LSU site…Huge loss for LSU…

Dinkdunk

January 16th, 2012
8:48 pm

Wait a minute -are you Chnging your story? Did nicky threten to cncel his subscription or sumpin? Earlier today the kid was quoted in your rag as sayin’ that Bama was goin ‘ to help him with job. Now you plant quotes from this other guy sayin’ he didn’t hear that. Ya’ll must be scared of Saban.

Do your job and follow up to see iwhat reaally happened. Of course now that its out that he was offered help a job, he can just about kiss that scholly good bye-somebody mght find out about it and turn him in.

What a creep.

Dawg48

January 16th, 2012
8:49 pm

Truth hurts bammers! Your coach is scum!

cuzsignedwithUGA

January 16th, 2012
8:49 pm

And you expect what else from people who drive a tractor to games?

Ramblin Man

January 16th, 2012
8:50 pm

Hopefully I will be reading soon that Justin will be visiting GT over the next two weeks.

cuzsignedUGA

January 16th, 2012
8:51 pm

Bama need to say more?

RedandBlackDawg

January 16th, 2012
8:52 pm

Maybe UGA will have a recruiting spot or two left open and could sign the kid and red shirt him for a year. Then in 2013, he could be at full strength and fit in nicely where the openings will be in the backfield. I don’t know a lot about him, but he must be a bruiser based on his weight and size, and UGA after this year might need one, if for nothing else than to add depth to the backfield. I doubt the kid is going to wait around to see if that happens though, so most likely, he will be a red shirt boiler maker. Good luck to you young man. Pursue your dream, when your leg is 100%.

Ramblin Man

January 16th, 2012
8:52 pm

Dawgster that is a huge blow to LSU

SECIsFootball

January 16th, 2012
8:52 pm

D. Ellis….is it right when a kid is committed and then 2 weeks before signing day he breaks his commitment? It ok that a school commits to a kid and a year later he wants to transfer? LSU just lost their QB who was set to enroll at LSU in the spring leaving Les Miles with no QB in this class. Why arent people commenting on that?

The answer is simple….if someone comments on that they are wasting chances to flame Nick Saban. People hate Saban because he wins and is the best in the game. He does this, as you said, within the rules of the NCAA yet we hear how he ruins these kids lives. Saban never pulled this kids offer but rather asked him to enroll 6 months later. He did the same with several guys. William Vlachos red-shirted and was an all SEC center this year. Not exactly what I call ruining his life.

This is one thing and one thing only….a way for people to flame Coach Saban. People hate a winner and with Saban they look for anything they can find to slander him. But, ask him if he cares and he will tell tha this process is the reason BAMA wins championships.

SECIsFootball

January 16th, 2012
8:53 pm

dawgster and other UGA fans….shouldnt we be slamming Keil for decommitting 2 weeks before signing day leaving Miles no chance to find a QB for this class? Or do you UGA fans only attach Saban?

cuzsignedUGA

January 16th, 2012
8:53 pm

Like how the real cool people drove tractors to airport to see Satan

cheat to win!

January 16th, 2012
8:55 pm

some fatcat alabama booster will pay him off for a year with some phony job to keep him in the bama trailer park. nick likes to win–cash is no object.

SECIsFootball

January 16th, 2012
8:55 pm

Dawg48…the truth is, our coach wins championships and your is a complete puss. But then again, since when did you UGA fans care about winning championships? Oh yeah….32 years ago.

Tdawg

January 16th, 2012
8:55 pm

Saban is a liar and a con artist on the highest order. There is not one iona of interigty in this man and I mean man in the lowest sense of the form. I keep asking myself. What type of kid would buy all the BS that Saban tell’s them? What type of parent would want their kid being led by such an unscrupious man and the only answer I can come up with is that the [aremts, along with their kids must be either dumb as a brick or the most gullable people in the USA.

SECIsFootball

January 16th, 2012
8:56 pm

cheat to win!….your proof to back up your statement? I will hang up and listen.

cuzsignedUGA

January 16th, 2012
8:56 pm

Guess SEC drove his tractor to wal mart to see trophy too

bring the noise

January 16th, 2012
8:57 pm

Everyone should go to al.com and look at all the alabama fans blaming this young man for changing his mind. Little nicky is garbage.

SECIsFootball

January 16th, 2012
8:58 pm

Tdawg….Some of the best college football players in the country as evidence by our 2 National Titles in 3 years. Who would go to UGA and believe that Richt will instill any winning instinct, drive or discipline in their child?

Dawg48

January 16th, 2012
8:58 pm

Bama fans you better hope Phillip Phulmer does not read the AJC!

cuzsignedUGA

January 16th, 2012
8:58 pm

Bama fans are cross eyed like they can read!

Ramblin Man

January 16th, 2012
8:58 pm

Looks like ND opened that pocket book again

SECIsFootball

January 16th, 2012
9:00 pm

cuzsignedUGA….Looking at a National Championship Trophy? I will take things UGA fans will never do for $1000 Alex.

Dewnsav

January 16th, 2012
9:01 pm

@Blackout…he was commited to BAMA, no “other” school…no, I’m sure he will not get the offers he would have had pre-injury…

cuzsignedUGA

January 16th, 2012
9:02 pm

Yeah ,sure SEC WoW…….

D. Ellis

January 16th, 2012
9:03 pm

SEC-I don’t disagree which is why there needs to be an early signing period but that is for another topic.

Kids shouldn’t commit if they aren’t 100% and colleges shouldn’t offer if they aren’t 100%. It’s a 2 way street and I can agree on thst.

However I stand by my opinion that if in fact this where 5* TJ Yeldon who got hurt, no way on on this planet Bama doesn’t bring him in year 1. and take the risk of him going somewhere else.

I do’t have a problem with it cause it’s legal. However morally it just doesn’t fit but Saban has to do what he has to do and thays understandable.

Will get very intresting in the next few weeks as there will be more processing that will take place.

I have nothing against saban or Bama…Great football coach and a great program.

SECIsFootball

January 16th, 2012
9:03 pm

cuzsignedUGA…You were the one makign fun of BAMA fans for going to see the NC trophy right? Let me know when UGA get that chance.

Tdawg

January 16th, 2012
9:04 pm

SECIsFootball……… ethics ain’t one of your strong points is it? I would like to think that Saban was suppose to be the adult here and teach his kids that a man’s word is his bond. Why wouldn’t a kid have a right to change his mind when we have this jerk (Saban) teaching them that is purfectly alright to lie. Guess what. No team in the country is better at teaching kids to lie than your beloved coach Saban. I take it that ethics isn’t that big of a deal at the U of Alabama. It sure doesn’t mean that much to you and ole Nicky boy.

Dewnsav

January 16th, 2012
9:04 pm

SECIsFoorball…Kiel is a teenager….

Dawg48

January 16th, 2012
9:05 pm

SECIsFootball
January 16th, 2012
8:58 pm

Tdawg….Some of the best college football players in the country as evidence by our 2 National Titles in 3 years. Who would go to UGA and believe that Richt will instill any winning instinct, drive or discipline in their child?

Try Jordan Jenkins who just picked UGA over Bama! This is probably why they said they felt like bama was not safe! When parents send there kids off to school for three to four years you would want them to be in safe hands, this goes to show Saban does not care about any of his players! He only cares for them if they produce for him! Saban is all about himself and will leave Bama high and dry under probation!

Ramblin Man

January 16th, 2012
9:06 pm

SECisfootball do really not care that saban cuts an average of 11 kids every year? Do you really believe saban and bama would be this successful if he recruited with integrity? Would you care if your own kid was pushed to the side to make room for the next player saban just has to have? Do you care that he is going to do this to another kid before February and others if he gets the “elites” he is still looking for?

JB

January 16th, 2012
9:06 pm

If I could tell the kid something, I would tell him” You lay with dogs you get fleas”.

dawgster

January 16th, 2012
9:06 pm

@SECIsFootball…What didn’t you comprehend about my comments regarding players that also do this…go back and take a further read and you will see I called as it is….I don’t believe I attacked Saban of Bama…I believe I said alot of schools do this and that the SEC and NCAA need to address this practice…Right now alot of schools do the same thing…But clearly you didn’t read my comments very well or you would have seen that I called out players for doing the same thing…go dawgs

cuzsignedUGA

January 16th, 2012
9:07 pm

Dude sometimes life is more important than ball but shows Bama’s fans thinking.

indy being

January 16th, 2012
9:08 pm

I follow college football recruiting religiously so I get how the “business” works. Do you people really think that Nick Saban is the only person doing this? Florida, Texas, all of the top programs are doing this. The idea of the college football coach being there for and protecting the kids is such a joke. This is a business now, and just like the coaches are self serving, the kids are too. We all need to realize that this is the way its gonna be from now on….

SECIsFootball

January 16th, 2012
9:09 pm

D. Ellis….of course we would not redshirt Yeldon. But there are other guys we could have redshirted but we asked Justin because he had a significant injury. He had his choice, thought about it, and went a different direction. I respect his choice and hope he has a great career.

Not sure where you get your details about players being processed. We lost a lot of seniors from this years team and have 3 leaving early for the NFL. I have asked many times who has been processed in the past and no one can seem to answer my question. You seem like a level headed guy who can have a discussion. So, who has been process. Which players that didnt qualify medically or were sent packing for disciplinary reasons were thrown off the team. Because if Saban is going that, I wonder why guys like Chris Jordan, Tyler Love and several others are still on the team. Who on the Alabama team is it worth Dr. James Andrews, the most respected orthopedic surgeon in the country, to risk his career with a fake diagnosis? Who has been processed?

JB

January 16th, 2012
9:10 pm

I will say this about the State of Alabama and that University. The commitment to play for the NC every year is supported from the Governors office to the Board of Regents to the school President. Not in Georgia.

down south fan

January 16th, 2012
9:10 pm

ok ,this coach that suppose to have his back sounds like he not all together there for the kid. son geton the first thing smokin .dont trust no one but the good man above .a bunch of cowards!!!!

cuzsignedUGA

January 16th, 2012
9:10 pm

My little cuz has over 19 offers to play baseball from uga to usc.. But as much as I love the dawgs told him go where his heart is not crazed fans act like you…

LakeDawg

January 16th, 2012
9:10 pm

To all of the Saban apologists. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Just because 17-18 yo kids renege on their commitment, doesn’t mean a grown man (Saban) and an institution that is supposed to be instilling character, among other things, should renege on their commitments. Saban has already renged on one commitment with this kid. Why should he believe Saban will honor his latest commitment to sign him in 2013?

Dawg48

January 16th, 2012
9:12 pm

Nick Saban just saved the kid from having to give him a medical hardship like he did these former players that complained about it to the Wall Street Journal.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703384204575509901468451306.html
Wow Saban is a great guy!

JB

January 16th, 2012
9:12 pm

Did I read Saban and Character in the same post??????

SECIsFootball

January 16th, 2012
9:12 pm

Dawg48….we lost Jenkins. Great pick up for UGA. But we lost one kid and will still sign a great recruiting class. You actually know absolutely nothing about the relationship that Saban has with his players so all you are really doing is speculating. Current and past players talk how great Saban is but I would expect you to skip right over that if it was part of an article.

Got 14?

January 16th, 2012
9:13 pm

Lost in ALL this is the FACT that Alabama did not back away from the kid. They’re merely delaying his enrollment. If all you whiney little UGA b!tches were told by Richt that Jan is good but not Aug you’d pedal to Athens as FAST as you could.

All you wimps who call into question morals and ethics do so from the strong, strong position OF A KEYBOARD.

Stop SAYING you want to be champions, Dawgs. Keep your “ethics.” We’ll keep stockpiling crystal.

The butthurt Dawg & Tech (TECH!) jealousy & anti-Saban jealousy tastes SO GOOD.

Dawg48

January 16th, 2012
9:14 pm

LakeDawg
January 16th, 2012
9:10 pm

To all of the Saban apologists. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Just because 17-18 yo kids renege on their commitment, doesn’t mean a grown man (Saban) and an institution that is supposed to be instilling character, among other things, should renege on their commitments. Saban has already renged on one commitment with this kid. Why should he believe Saban will honor his latest commitment to sign him in 2013?

Cause the kid said Saban was going to wright up a prom is on a napkin from the waffle house when they meet to talk about 2013! lol

SECIsFootball

January 16th, 2012
9:15 pm

Ramblin Man…again I ask…which 11 players were “cut” last year? Which 11 were cut the year before? Where is your proof that Saban doesn’t recruit ethically? My guess is you cannot answer a single one of these questions. Prove me wrong.