Nick Saban meets with Justin Taylor, promises to “stand by his word”
Alabama's Nick Saban met with now-2013 commit Justin Taylor on Tuesday (AP)
Nick Saban and Justin Taylor sat across from each other for about an hour at North Atlanta High School on Tuesday. It was the first face-to-face meeting between the two since it was reported that Taylor can’t sign with Alabama this year. It was surprising news for Taylor, who has been committed to Alabama since last February (he was the 7th of Alabama’s 27 commitments). The Crimson Tide wants Taylor to “grayshirt” because of a knee injury and wait to enroll in 2013, while others speculate that it was creative “roster management” by Saban. You can catch up by reading HERE and HERE and HERE. What’s the latest with Justin Taylor? He remains committed to Alabama. That’s never changed since last February. Purdue is interested but hasn’t offered a football scholarship. At this point, Taylor’s top options appear to be attending a prep school next fall or simply sitting out of school altogether until he is permitted to enroll at Alabama next January. We talked to North Atlanta football coach Stanley Pritchett, the ex-NFL RB who is also Taylor’s legal guardian.
- How did it go? “We had a good conversation with Coach Saban. He told us exactly what the plan was with Justin. It was basically the same things he told us a couple of weeks ago on the official visit to Alabama. Coach Saban really wants him. He said he wouldn’t be coming to the school and sitting in the room if he didn’t want him. Coach Saban said Justin is part of the Alabama family. They just think it’s best for his football career to grayshirt and get his knee back right.”
- What is Saban’s plan for Justin? “The plan is to make sure he gets some rehab for his knee. They said he can take some classes at a community college in the fall, three or six hours, where he won’t be a full-time student. Or he can go to a prep school if he wants. Actually, it was Justin who brought up the idea of a prep school. Coach Saban is fine with it as long as the doctors clear him to play. They don’t want him to get him injured again. They don’t want him playing again until he’s 100 percent. Alabama said they have contacts at prep schools if he wants to go there in the fall. But Justin is already academically qualified. He doesn’t really have to go to a prep school.”
2013 Alabama RB commit Justin Taylor (AJC)
- Did Saban mention anything about the public reaction to the situation? “Yes. He said he caught a lot of flak for it and took a lot of criticism. He wasn’t mad at Justin for anything. He said stuff like this is just the nature of the beast. That’s really all that was said about it.”
- Could Taylor still sign with Alabama next week? “I don’t think so. Now Coach Saban did say that they could bring him in down the line [with the 2012 class] at a later date if something becomes available. But he doesn’t feel like Justin’s knee is going to be healthy enough or ready to do something like that, even if a spot did open up.”
- What’s your advice for Justin as his legal guardian? “Coach Saban made it clear he is going to stand by his word. As Justin’s guardian, I can only go by a man’s word. I’m going to hold Coach Saban to those words. There’s going to be a problem if he doesn’t stick by his word [and sign Taylor in 2013]. That’s when it would be a problem for me. As long as the kid signs next year, I’m fine with it because I only want what’s the best for Justin. This is his life and his decision. He wants to go to Alabama next year, and I’m going to support him with that decision.”
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