Justin Taylor: Safely signed with Kentucky, speaks candidly on Alabama

Ex-Alabama RB recruit Justin Taylor: (AJC)

Ex-Alabama RB recruit Justin Taylor on Crimson Tide: "... As far as pulling the scholarship, I think they did me wrong. I was the No. 7 to commit, that’s all I’ve got to say. I was committed to them for a year. They could’ve handled it better.” (AJC)

After star Atlanta running back Justin Taylor was safely signed by another SEC school on Wednesday, he was ready to speak more candidly about his recruitment by national champion Alabama.

A 5-foot-10, 208-pounder from North Atlanta High School, Taylor signed scholarship papers with Kentucky rather than to wait to sign with Alabama in January 2013, a promise made by coach Nick Saban two weeks ago.

Taylor committed to the Crimson Tide around a year ago, but was informed by Nick Saban in January that he couldn’t sign this year. Saban said it was because of Taylor’s knee injury that cut short his senior season, asking him to enroll next January in a practice known as grayshirting. Speculation became rampant in the college recruiting world that instead it was a reason to oversign at Alabama and then manage the roster to keep as many recruits as possible within the rules.

Your best guess on why Saban asked Taylor to "grayshirt" ...

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“I knew I wasn’t going to Alabama when I met with Coach Saban at my high school a couple of weeks ago,” Taylor said. “When Coach Saban came down, I just had this feeling in my heart. I prayed about it and God told me … and I know this sounds kind of crazy … but God told me that Alabama was not the place for me.”

Taylor ended up picking Kentucky instead of Ole Miss after a whirlwind courtship within the last few days. North Atlanta coach Stanley Pritchett, who is also Taylor’s guardian and a former SEC and NFL running back, was in favor of signing on Wednesday rather than waiting on Alabama’s promises for next year.

“We trusted the coaches at Kentucky,” Pritchett said. “We felt comfortable with them, and they promised to take care of Justin. I think everything turned out well, ultimately. I wanted him to go to college right now because when you’re the first person in your family to graduate from high school, you don’t need to be sitting out. You never know what might happen in December or next year at Alabama.

“I wanted Justin to go ahead and get started in college, and I’ve always told him that. But I was going to support him with whatever decision he wanted to make.”

After winning the BCS championship earlier this month, Alabama finished Wednesday with the nation’s No. 1-ranked recruiting class, according to Rivals. The Crimson Tide signed 26 players, including eight from the state of Georgia. Last February, Taylor was the seventh player to commit for Alabama’s 2012 class. From that day for most of 11 months, Taylor wore an Alabama hat virtually everywhere he went.

Within the span of a month, Nick Saban has won both national championships in football and recruiting (AP)

Within the span of a month, Nick Saban has won both national championships in football and recruiting (AP)

“If you look back on it, you see that it was a numbers game [with scholarships], that Alabama really wanted to sit out because of the numbers,” Pritchett said. “It kind of makes you mad, but you also feel good that he didn’t go there. Because if he had gone to Alabama, he would’ve probably just have been another number.”

On Wednesday, Pritchett and Taylor called Alabama assistant Chris Rumph to inform him on the decision to sign with an SEC rival. “[Rumph] asked what Justin was going to do because they wanted to go after some other people,” said Pritchett. “[Rumph] said go ahead and do what you’ve got to do.”

On Wednesday night, Taylor was happy to be finished with a troubling few weeks, and looked forward to playing against his former team, Alabama. “The way they talked to me, they respected me … but as far as pulling the scholarship, I think they did me wrong. I was the No. 7 to commit, that’s all I’ve got to say. I was committed to them for a year. They could’ve handled it better.”

  • RELATED: A DL from Alabama, who had been committed to the Crimson Tide since last September and is recovering from a recent knee surgery, may have had the same type of jolting experience as Justin Taylor, according this story by al.com’s Mike Herndon

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

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536 comments Add your comment

CRIMSON HAMMAH

February 2nd, 2012
1:44 am

redshirt yr is not a slough off yr – it is work ur azz off yr – scout team -prepare to be a champ and contribute to the team as a player or special teams

CRIMSON HAMMAH

February 2nd, 2012
1:46 am

u come in like all the other freshman ready mentally physically spiritually academically to be a champion not a free loader

CRIMSON HAMMAH

February 2nd, 2012
1:48 am

no u recover on your own dime
not ur fault – it’s the bum mentality of obama in ur soul

bravos0516

February 2nd, 2012
1:48 am

Get over yourself and your program dude. The kid will still have almost a full year of work even if he skips spring and summer ball. Get off your high horse and just admit you may have a good program but it’s because you have a dirty coach who wins at all costs. High school kids not withstanding.

CRIMSON HAMMAH

February 2nd, 2012
1:51 am

stop with the bum mentality….go get a job and tell them u want to free load the first yr…..no ALL freshman at bama come in and work ur azz off and if u r not ready u get ready on your own dime….like jimmy johnson said the diabetes field is across the street

CRIMSON HAMMAH

February 2nd, 2012
1:52 am

deadbeat society with a deadbeat mentality

Crimson Crush

February 2nd, 2012
1:53 am

well … see once again … something is ringing hollow here with what you say about connections to the program there bravos … because frankly … Coach Saban COULD STILL improve as a game day coach ( he has … steadily … and continues to improve his game day skills … which we like )

There ARE better coaches right now coaching in college on on the fly during game day but none in my opinion on teaching and preparation. So I am confused by what you mean by “on the field” .

Secondly … Jordan Jenkins didn’t sign with Bama . I am sure you got the memo . And frankly … Bama is NOT for everyone … just like the special forces in our military are NOT the right place for the average run of the mill army recruit looking for three hots and a cot with a degree when they get out …

It takes extra … a LOT extra to hang around in Tuscaloosa . Extra time , extra effort , extra discipline … and then last … very last … extra talent . If you are missing even a little of any of the first … or unwilling to do what it takes to put them in … you won’t make it under Saban .

If Jordan Jenkins decided he would rather hang out with Crowell in Athens … I applaud him for his decisions. It saved us burning a scholarship on a kid who probably wouldn’t have been able to stick around anyway .

None of this is even remotely hard to grasp . The idea that your dad is somehow “close” to the program … but seems to be , according to you , tepid about the very foundations of Alabama football for nearly a century sounds suspect .

It is like when I read people claiming ” I am a lifelong Republican … but ”

… then they go off with a list of grievances and values from the far left spectrum that NO Republican would even begin to hold . Something just doesn’t ring true ;-)

bravos0516

February 2nd, 2012
1:54 am

and deadbeat bammer fans . . . . . .

CRIMSON HAMMAH

February 2nd, 2012
1:54 am

do the kid a favor …..and don’t make freshman yr more of a burden than it is ….but also don’t let the kid be a deadbeat when all the other freshman are working for their scholly….perfect solution = grayshirt

bravos0516

February 2nd, 2012
1:55 am

Updyke is a real upstanding citizen isn’t he? Living in a van down by the river haha. Sounds like a deadbeat to me.

CRIMSON HAMMAH

February 2nd, 2012
1:58 am

ABC Another Bama Championship

bravos0516

February 2nd, 2012
2:00 am

@Crimson Crush

Haha wow dude. If you have ever seen any video on Jordan Jenkins play or interviews with him you will know he is a player and a damn good kid. The reason he didnt go to bama is because of your coaches BS pissing him and his parents off. They could see the snakes in the grass and didn’t want anything to do with it. You can say whatever you want about my dad dude. I don’t have to prove anything to you.

CRIMSON HAMMAH

February 2nd, 2012
2:00 am

Justin Taylor could have been a Bama Legend

bravos0516

February 2nd, 2012
2:04 am

@Crimson Hammah

At least Crimson Crush makes points. Why don’t you let the adults debate. I cringe at calling Crimson Crush an adult but compared to you it’s deserved.

CRIMSON HAMMAH

February 2nd, 2012
2:08 am

jordan great – his parents had egos and did like being showed up by saban’s greatness

CRIMSON HAMMAH

February 2nd, 2012
2:10 am

Bama had a fight in locker room and naive mom drank the ga coaches kookaid that bama was dangerous ….truth is bama has 0 men headed for prison….ga has at least 15

bravos0516

February 2nd, 2012
2:13 am

Haha keep telling yourself that. Saban was the one that tried to save it. Smart was the one that screwed it up. Like father like son.

bravos0516

February 2nd, 2012
2:15 am

Right, now that you mention kool-aid, you keep drinking that bammer kool-aid and dont worry about anyone else.

Crimson Crush

February 2nd, 2012
2:16 am

@bravos I listed EXTRA talent last up above for a reason . Several years ago a kid out of Mobile was down to LSU and Bama ( Saban had just gotten there ) His father didn’t like Saban … seems Saban TOLD the father they were going to win … father said he “bragged too much” . So the kid went to LSU .

Two years ( and a NC ) … here comes this kid … asking to transfer to Bama . To MIles credit … he let the kid go unfettered . Jadaveon Clowney … the Gamecock recruit .. he didn’t like Saban . Said he talked too much … he went where everyone would blow air up his a** and HE could be the center of attention ( Bama nor Saban don’t play that until you earn it … and by the time you earn it you know better )

So … I say again … it sounds like Jenkins went right where he needs to be . A place where the staff will pat him on the head and tell him everything is alright … no matter what .

bravos0516

February 2nd, 2012
2:24 am

@Crimson Crush

You’re missing the point dude. I’m telling I know exactly why they didn’t choose Bammer and it has to do with a coach throwing a hissy fit like a little girl. Nothing to do with whatever you are talking about. Basically the product of trying to hard sell a kid when he wants to talk to his family before he commits. I’m out but don’t worry I think UGA will be meeting Bammer in the dome real soon and maybe often. Tell Crimson Hammah to get a life. He makes your fan base look worse than you do.

CRIMSON HAMMAH

February 2nd, 2012
2:24 am

Non-Champions cannot understand the mindset of Champions

Crimson Crush

February 2nd, 2012
2:29 am

@bravos posted and it was devoured by the software . what I bascially posted that I find the story of a “connected” father who is actually supposed to be a Bama football fan odd to say the least . It just doesn’t match up with what ALL true Bama fans know about how hard it can be to stay on the field in Tuscaloosa .

I’ve certainly never met one Tide fan , conncetd or otherwise , that was worried about someone getting their feelings hurt because someone else didn’t say “pretty please” after every sentence . It simply doesn’t match the Tide Nation mentality in any remote sense . Never has … at any time … except maybe under Shula ;-)

The Human Body Will Always Pass Out Before it Dies

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpPV1aRWlXQ

Bad Dawg

February 2nd, 2012
2:44 am

I’d take Nick Saban the head coach anyday. There is reason for some to question his ethics but then again this is not the church league championship. I applaud him for the coach he is and others should do the same. Also dawg nation quit worrying about Alabama so much there is enough to be concerned with in Athens. Go dawgs and best wishes to Justin.

Crimson Crush

February 2nd, 2012
2:47 am

I think UGA will be meeting Bammer in the dome real soon and maybe often.

======================================================================

Wouldn’t hurt my feelings any . Every time Bama has ended up in the SECG for two decades it has always the Gators from the East . Be nice to see someone besides the Gators for a change … if nothing else just to change things up :-)

Bad Dawg

February 2nd, 2012
2:56 am

Uga vs Bama would be interesting but unlikely. I would expect similar results from years’SEC SECCG but who knows maybe Mark Richt will surprise me.

Drew

February 2nd, 2012
3:26 am

C’mon people. As if UGA, UF, OSU, OU, UT and every other major program don’t play the numbers game. Please. All these people slamming Saban because he asked the kid to enroll a semester later, and he’s getting crucified? Illogical and irrational. Now Taylor can go to an SEC East school where he’ll win 10 combined SEC games over the next 4 years and enjoy (at best) mediocrity. I just hope he’s able to become a diamond in the rough on that team and get a shot at the NFL once he’s finished, because I think he could’ve been developed at UA had he enrolled in January. His size is the prototypical RB size Saban cherishes.

GaMatl

February 2nd, 2012
4:04 am

UA and Saban stayed committed to this kid after his injury,other schools including UGA backed off. He wasn’t thrown to the wolves,he would’ve enrolled in January. He’ll spend the next few months rehabilitating anyway. Say what you want about Saban, he’s the #1 recruiter in the nation.

Old Dog

February 2nd, 2012
5:23 am

” Just to set the record straight, CMR does not overoffer because he is committed to not oversigning”

No. I believe that CMR just can’t get 25 good recruits to come to Georgia’s mediocre program.

Paddy

February 2nd, 2012
6:33 am

George…….that is crazy talk. What a Maroon!

bilbo799

February 2nd, 2012
6:55 am

I think BAMA pride is just laughable. The Univ. of Alabama is a pathetic school. The school and state have nothing else but college football going on. They spend more money on football than anyone else in the SEC. Yeah, if you care more (bc you have nothing else going for you) and spend more money (even though you have less money to spend), you’re going to win once in a while. CONGRATULATIONS! You must be so proud!

Neal

February 2nd, 2012
6:57 am

It’s caled college football folks, not youth league. The kid better learn that sometimes things change. He was offered a delayed entry because of his injury. All this Saban hate is sour grapes because your coach is just average. The kids that commit to Saban aren’t promised the world, only part of it if they work hard. When your program obtains elite status then too many elite player want to play for your school and it sometimes calls for hard choices. Most of these kids yearn to play pro and they better learn to deal with it now.

Neal

February 2nd, 2012
7:04 am

Paula

February 2nd, 2012
7:10 am

[...] Justin Taylor was a big part of Alabama’s recruiting plans:  “[Rumph] asked what Justin was going to do [...]

Mighty Pup

February 2nd, 2012
7:36 am

You guys are a joke,what has Georgia done ever? I can tell you that the players Richt gets are thugs,always being suspended,or even better kicked off the team all together,but hey i know thats what happens when u get the leftovers,HAHAHAHA RTR

Joey

February 2nd, 2012
7:37 am

What I don’t understand about this is why didn’t Richt use one of his many unused scholarships to sign Taylor?

And before somebody writes, “we got enough RBs,” last season proved you can never have enough.

I guess Richt’s saving those schollies for some walk-ons . . .

Brad

February 2nd, 2012
7:49 am

UGA fans have short memories. CMR has definitely pulled offers before…. remember the Carver situation:
http://espn.go.com/high-school/story/_/id/4348798/coach-bans-bulldogs-staff-campus/

Crimson Crush

February 2nd, 2012
7:54 am

@Paula

Chizik can promise every recruit a free room on the moon to go with the other “classy promises” … He KNOWS AU has already hit the skids … bad … and HE WON”T BE THERE in four freaking years . $Cam was one and done or Chiz would already out the door … Lowder is freaking broke and one step away from prison so you can’t expect him to bankroll any more $Campionships for Mr 5 and 19 either .

No point in even attempting to debate me on the issue . Go read the Inside The Auburn Tigers forum . Arugue with them . They are the most deluded last to admit ANYTHING group of numbnuts on the internet as a collection . (individually a good number of AJC readers give them a close run for their money though :-) )

When you see the ITAT forum losing their ever loving minds and even occasionally admitting what everyone else with any knowledge about college football already knows … the Chiz Wiz is already cooked . He just hasn’t been pulled out of the oven yet .

So yeah … give every recruit a lifetime contract if they will play at Auburn for a year … limited time offer only of course … it won’t make a bit of difference in the world to the Chiz . LOL

I want to offer the Barn and the Barn Fambly a sincere and deeply heartfelt thanks though . A Signing Day bonus I never expected . When a hated rival program is stupid enough to let their outgoing head coach paint their NEXT coach into a very tiny box , all I can say is ” Where is the brush ? … I’ll help ” . LOL

AU just went from possibly just being down and crippled for the next few years to being a drooling quadriplegic indefinitely . Even the UGA whiners on here should be able to muster a thank you for that .

Me … now that I have said thanks … I am just going to spend the next decade laughing and asking where happened to all that Auburn gear I used to see on the streets :-)

Straight Jacket

February 2nd, 2012
7:58 am

Saban is a low-life! He only cares about himself! A Yankee running a Southern school! he will leave for the pros soon!!

Crimson Crush

February 2nd, 2012
8:01 am

Anyone who didn’t check out Paula’s link at 7:10 a.m . Feb 2 needs to go read it . Good good stuff . No … in the words of that famous other Tiger ITSSSSSSSS GRRRRRRREAT; ! LOL -)

HighTech

February 2nd, 2012
8:13 am

bhamwreck

February 1st, 2012
8:35 pm
Like Seinfeld said: Its the HOLDING the reservation thats the tricky part.
——————————————————————————–
Too funny! Anyone can take a reservation. It’s HOLDING the reservation that’s the tricky part. lol.

Crimson Crush

February 2nd, 2012
8:14 am

Maybe I should qualify my recommendation … any TIDE fan who didn’t read Paula’s link needs to … immediately LOL .. the UGA crowd might get amusement out of it too … at least the ones who can read it and comprehend what it will actually mean for the AU program moving forward . :-)

Crimson Crush

February 2nd, 2012
8:15 am

The Tech crowd … why bother … it is only a game … ya know ? ;-)

Blackoutanyone?

February 2nd, 2012
8:16 am

Crimson Crush….lol catching your second wind? You’ve been beating these leg humpers down all night. Lol

Whiskey Breath

February 2nd, 2012
8:20 am

Can you find something better to write about Mike? Sounds like you are trying to did up dirt on Saban.
Why don’t you write about how Richt lost the best players in Ga to Saban?

Crimson Crush

February 2nd, 2012
8:20 am

Did you read that INCREDIBLE link by Paula ???? They actually think they have done something to hurt Bama ROFLMAO

I say …

We Takin’ Over :-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXv3ueXRjlQ

globeflyer

February 2nd, 2012
8:28 am

@blackoutanyone….I agree with you. I’m a lifelong Bama fan and not comfortable with the way things played out with Taylor or Philon, but we don’t (and probably won’t) know the whole story. The jealousy of Saban and Bama’s championships on some of these blogs is sad, but not indicative of the UGA fanbase as a whole. I do, however, scratch my head when one of UGA’s “holier than thou” types get on here and slam the academics at Bama, in fact, I picked up a quote from Saban yesterday I thought I’d share…” On the academic side, in terms of the history of academic success that you create for these young folks, the fact that we had 38 players this past year make SEC honor roll, which I think is a record all time in the SEC, is pretty significant. When they ranked the top 10 finishers in the BCS and match them up with the graduation rate, Stanford is first and we are second.” (That will give some naysayers something to look up.) Anyway, I wish those two players well and hate that it turned out as it did…

Troof

February 2nd, 2012
8:29 am

Good luck to this young man. He wants to play now so no hard feeling in doing what he feels is best.

To the butthurt UGA fans….deal with it. It’s within the rules so it’s fair game. Wish it would have been handled better but it is what it is.

So UGA fans riddle me this? If this Ring Team is that awesome shouldn’t the gap close between you and Bama? But that doesn’t seem to be the case. Each #1 class Saban brings in simply widens the gap between the champs and the others. RTR!

Bamaman

February 2nd, 2012
8:33 am

It appears that Bama was the only school that was looking out for the health of this young man. You don’t rehab from a major knee injury in one year. I’ll bet he is red shirted at Kentucky this year. For all you Dawg fans and who cares Tech fans, just because you are second tier, which is not Bama’s fought, for Georgia, try getting an offensive coordinator that has an IQ above 10. Keep looking up, you are going to be doing that for awhile.

Crimson Crush

February 2nd, 2012
8:38 am

globeflyer wrote :

“not indicative of the UGA fanbase as a whole”

That is true … it is just hard to remember when you read the AJC blogs . I am sure most of the silliness posted here under UGA handles mortifies a knowledgeable Dawg fan as much as it does anyone else ;-)