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

Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

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536 comments Add your comment

bhamwreck

February 1st, 2012
8:35 pm

Like Seinfeld said: Its the HOLDING the reservation thats the tricky part.

bh

February 1st, 2012
8:37 pm

i wonder if the “talking heads” will even mention this? they bow to everything bama! i just hope these arrogant and selfish tactics come back to bite bama.

bh

February 1st, 2012
8:38 pm

by “talking heads” i mean all the mouths on ESPN that think more of their own ego’s than anything else.

DoggieStyle

February 1st, 2012
8:39 pm

What did the kid think dealing with the devil? Would anyone expect Satan himself to be truthful?

Concrete Pete

February 1st, 2012
8:40 pm

Until parents and HS coaches start holding Satan accountable and making him do right, he will continue to abuse kids for his own financial gain. TRUTH

George Stein

February 1st, 2012
8:42 pm

He’s 17, DoggieStyle. Cut him some slack. I’m happy he’s going to school.

AlpharettaDawg

February 1st, 2012
8:42 pm

Great story Michael. I’m glad it worked out to Taylor’s satisfaction. It sounds like he did the right thing for himself which is what matters in this situation. Looks like the Dawgs will see him the next few years if he gets healthy and works up the depth chart.

george

February 1st, 2012
8:43 pm

Saban is a gosh for saken crook!!!!!!!!! Its only a matter of time before Bammer pays for his crooked crimes! HAHAHA!!!!! SATAN himself!!!! You Bama bums are devil worshipers!!!!!

Pete

February 1st, 2012
8:44 pm

Justin, you did well.

King Gator

February 1st, 2012
8:44 pm

Good for Taylor, look out for yourself these coaches don’t care about your personally and you have to put yourself first. Go Gators!

ATLNTA

February 1st, 2012
8:47 pm

Go to school work hard and forget about Alabama. If you are good player, you will always do well no matter a school you are enrolled to. This is another lesson and a red Flag to some of the recruits. All in all you did a nice thing not to sit and wait for Alabama. .

FL Jacket

February 1st, 2012
8:49 pm

Say it loud young fella!

[...] AJC College Sports Recruiting  Posted by Hero at 7:54 pm  Tagged with: Alabama, candidly, Justin, Kentucky, Safely, signed, speaks, Taylor [...]

RTR22

February 1st, 2012
8:54 pm

George take your pills and go to sleep……Did the Jawja HC know he could sign more than 18, I mean
with all that talent in your state…

Congrads Justin but you are much better off up North. That depth chart at Bama would have you transfering before the ink dries on your loi, imo….at least up there you will get to play eventually.

Shoedog

February 1st, 2012
8:55 pm

Saban is goat smegma.

hawkman

February 1st, 2012
8:57 pm

And Satan still has some cutting, mmmm…. I mean roster management to do. He signed 26, already cut two to get to 26, supposed to be limited to 25. All 3 stars that he signed might be a little nervous right now…..

hawkman

February 1st, 2012
8:59 pm

The Jawja HC only offered schollys he had to give. I guess that is too honorable for bama boys to understand. Those who did not take them, he will use to take care of his current walkons. u can say it is the within the rules what Saban does, but he screws over kids to do it, and that is wrong

wpww

February 1st, 2012
9:03 pm

Saban is a piece of Dung! The hoods havn’t figured that out yet.

NtheNo

February 1st, 2012
9:07 pm

Wanted the kid to sign sign with Ole Miss but nonetheless wish him well @ Kentucky. Hotty Toddy!

coachx

February 1st, 2012
9:07 pm

Let this be a lesson to all kids of what Nick Saban’s true character is.

War D. Eagle

February 1st, 2012
9:08 pm

Like I said before, when Satan and Bammer were able to get T.J. Yeldon, they no longer Justin Taylor. Saban is just a Snake in the grass who doesn’t care about any of these kids. When he finally leaves Bammer, they’ll get the “Death Penalty”.

SLAWDAWG

February 1st, 2012
9:10 pm

It makes you think, just what is going on in the minds of some these parents & guardians, to honestly let their children get mixed up with the Sabans & Lane Kiffins of college football. Wonder what happens if you get hurt DURING the season.

SLAWDAWG

February 1st, 2012
9:13 pm

I guess the phrase “Actions Speak Louder Than Words” is true!

bucket

February 1st, 2012
9:13 pm

Darius Philon and Justin Taylor should do a video for guys going through the recruiting process so that they realize that if you get hurt or a program finds a better player that early verbal is worthless to some coaches.

Skydawg

February 1st, 2012
9:16 pm

Good for Justin Taylor. I wish him the best except 1 Saturday per fall. Saban is a dirtbag and I hope the tide (pun intended) is starting to turn on him. I can promise you Stanley Pritchett will spread the word to more HS coaches around the ATL. It is catching up to him. Perhaps it’s why the guy has never stayed on any job for more than 4 yrs. He starts to burn bridges.

Blackoutanyone?

February 1st, 2012
9:17 pm

First let me say I wouldn’t trade CNS for any coach in the country. But I’m not a blind follower and he’s not above making mistakes. I have debated most on here for months regarding oversigning and gray shirts. While I still feel gray shirting is not the root of all that is evil (because it affords some kids an opportunity to attend a dream school when that opportunity would otherwise not be there) for once I will admit that I am NOT comfortable with how this played out. Many Bama fans agree because our other boards were in melt down on this subject earlier. I feel if there is a chance a kid may have to gray shirt that is something that should be disclosed from the very begining.. not 2 weeks before signing day. This feels too much like a win at all costs attitude and Bama is better than that. This was disapointing and I hope it never happens again. Good luck to this young man. Roll Tide

WELL what now?

February 1st, 2012
9:18 pm

Even though i am a dawg fan. Justin i am proud of you. you just learn a valuable lesson in life. you will see this same situation repeated as you become a man and experience new things out in this big world. you had it right the first time. They did you wrong, you committed and they blew you off because they had a hidden agenda all along. Now if only the other kids can see what you saw today. Best of luck to you!

Go Dawgs!

Doggoneit

February 1st, 2012
9:19 pm

Looks like Nick Saban comes to Georgia and rapes our boys and hangs them out to dry! thats Twice in one year he’s done this!

WELL what now?

February 1st, 2012
9:20 pm

Did ESPN ever mention this story on TV…….naw…… to busy with THE REMATCH EVERYONE WANTS TO SEE!
by the way, when is the third game of the best of five going to be played?

Blackoutanyone?

February 1st, 2012
9:22 pm

Some of you UGA fans need to get a grip. CMR is not above pulling a scholarship offer.

http://blogs.ajc.com/recruiting/2009/07/21/carver-columbus-coach-bans-uga-recruiters/

1970 Dawg

February 1st, 2012
9:22 pm

I don’t care how you spin it, this was just WRONG! Id rather have a HC with integrity than one who “manages” his roster this way. BTW, Justin you were 100% right when you said “They could have handled it better.” If I was a high school coach, the Bama coaches would be treated the same way they treated this young man.

Jefferson Davis Hogg

February 1st, 2012
9:23 pm

The sad part of this is Satan’s reaction when asked about oversigning today. The response was “none of your damn business”…..That about say’s it all….Sad!

syrupmaker 61

February 1st, 2012
9:24 pm

ALL GA HIGH SCHOOL COACHES SHOULD NOT ALLOW ALA ON THIER CAMPUS

JB

February 1st, 2012
9:24 pm

Good for Justin. Saban, Bama fans will say he’s all about the kids. Really? Saban is for Saban…..And the hardest part, and you can only see this from a distance……Bama is just his current mistress.

RedandBlackDawg

February 1st, 2012
9:25 pm

Good luck young man. You will be better off rehabbing at a college, and you can now get a leg up on getting that degree. I am sure you now have a real reality lesson of how fleeing a career built on a hard sport like football can be altered. Get your degree so you have something good to fall back on, if you don’t make it to the Sunday league. You have learned a hard but valuable lesson .

RxDawg

February 1st, 2012
9:25 pm

I’m just glad the kid made the choice to start school. You just don’t put that off for a year for anyone.

GHOST OF ERK RUSSELL

February 1st, 2012
9:25 pm

I think saban has worn out his welcome with many Georgia high school coaches and in the next few years and Georgia will lock down the borders on the top players.

bucket

February 1st, 2012
9:26 pm

@ RTR22 – Just to set the record straight, CMR does not overoffer because he is committed to not oversigning. If everyone had signed today that they thought were going to they would have had 22 commits and they have 3 commits that are supposed to be coming in early in January which would have given him 25 commits that counted against this year and allowed him to sign up to 28 next year without talk of a hot seat. I am not saying that I am totally in support of their strategy, but that’s what happened.

Bama Mike

February 1st, 2012
9:26 pm

We wish him the very best at Kentucky.

1970 Dawg

February 1st, 2012
9:26 pm

Blackout… Just so you know, the offer was never made to this young man referenced in your article. This misunderstanding was later reported by the AJC and cleared up with the Columbus coach as evidenced by our recent success at that school.

sportsfan

February 1st, 2012
9:27 pm

Very smart move Justin – and excellent coaching/guardianship on your part Stanley. Alabama and Nick Saban DID NOT DESERVE to have you as a recruit either this year or next, because, despite your months-long commitment to them, in the end, Alabama/Saban were NOT COMMITTED to you as a person. You were treated like just another body/number, as Saban has done before and more than once this year alone. It’s time more people start waking up to the BS of Nick Saban. This kind of stuff doesn’t happen at the wide majority of schools. My sense is you will be treaated with more respect by the staff at Kentucky and given a fair shot at playing time, and I’m not a Kentucky fan, just a neutral college sports fan. Best of luck to you!

Blackoutanyone?

February 1st, 2012
9:28 pm

Georgia kids will continue to line up to play for Saban. Kids want to win championships… something UGA can’t offer.

Blackoutanyone?

February 1st, 2012
9:30 pm

1970dawg… lol yeah he just showed up with his entire family for no reason. Can you say spin job? CMR had to get back in to Carver for Crowell didn’t he?

LakeDawg

February 1st, 2012
9:32 pm

“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.”

Yep. Saban would’ve found a way to boot him off the team if he had stood by Bama. Tricky Nick “I am not a crook.”

George

February 1st, 2012
9:32 pm

What fresh crap is that? The GA state mafia, I mean media is out to slander Saban yet again. Hello folks, Taylor had been wavering on his committment for months now, and many thought he would flip at any time, and people are upset Saban pull and schlloy from a kid that wasn’t 100% committed to Bama? Spare me you sanctimonies attitudes (GA fans, especially). Saban is protecting himself and Alabama from guys little Taylor who wants to use Alabama as a springboard to getting an offer they truly wants. Believe what you want from the GA state mafia, excuse me media, but Alabama/Saban did nothing wrong, and this crap that that AJC continues to spew is jut that unsubstantiated crap.

Tdawg

February 1st, 2012
9:33 pm

Wake up and smell what’s cooking people. Do you think for one second that all these recruits that goes to Alabama don’t know that Nick Saban is as crooked as a North Georgia road. Unless these kids are dumb as a rock they know all about that jerk. Their parents also know that Saban is a less than honorable man. Sure he takes care of his kids. At least the ones that he has a use for. If he has no use for you, then tough luck, I here that they are hiring at the local McDonalds. Listen people, the kids and their parents know what a low life Saban is. Saban will tell them 2 things that will make a parent trust the future of their kids with. Number one thing he will lie to them about, is that if you come to Alabama, I will get you into the pros. He is no better at doing that, then anyother coach. I don’t care where you go to college, if you are good enough the pros will find you. Crap I never heard of half of the players on the New York Giants and New England Patriots when they were in college. I don’t think that even one of them attended the University of Alabama. The second thing and listen people this is the most important thing Saban will tell these kids parents. Look folks, your kids will never have to worry about failing any classes. Never heard of anyone failing at Alabama. At least none of their athletes fail. Why do you think the Tomblinson kid bolted to Alabama? That school work is a lot easier at Bama than it is at GT. I never for once thought that he meant it when he said that academics were important. He blew that little statement right out of the water. He bolted to Alabama the second that he heard that Goldman kid had signed with Fla. State. Crap that would make him a coward to boot. He would have never committed to Alabama if that Goldman kid had committed there. Afraid of the competition. Mark just promise next years group of kids the moon if it will get them to Georgia. I mean no way in hedes are they stupid enough to believe everything you tell them anyway. They just won’t you to tell them that you can do it. Truth don’t mean a thing to people these days, so lets crank up them lies.

JB

February 1st, 2012
9:33 pm

Last four years, including today, Bama has signed 115 players……Georgia 82…. You do the math.
A difference of 33….. or a whole another years worth of players to practice, drill and cut.

bucket

February 1st, 2012
9:34 pm

@ Blackout – you are a standup guy and even though I don’t always like your posts I respect your opinion. The deal at Carver was a big mix-up and I didn’t like the way it made us look, but there’s a big difference in the way Saban has handled the Taylor and Philon situation and the way Richt handled the Carver situation. Richt apologized repeatedly for the misunderstanding.

Tdawg

February 1st, 2012
9:35 pm

George I have no problem calling you an idiot or a liar. Not sure which one? Probably both.

Karma got stuck in traffic today

February 1st, 2012
9:37 pm

You know why Saban does this? Because he CAN. What can you do about it? Nothing, as long as bama keeps bringing in millions every year. The fact that he sees his college football program as a business may seem… oily, but the NCAA has had this same attitude about football for the last 25 years. Saban has flat out stopped pretending that he is involved in “student athletics” and he’s been rewarded with 2 NC’s. Not saying it’s a good thing but – it is what it is. I would say something will stop this type of nonsense but Money and NC’s > Karma.