Justin Taylor: Kentucky appreciative of “trust factor” in signing ex-Alabama RB commit

Kentucky coach Joker Phillips was appreciative that he won the “trust factor” with Justin Taylor, the North Atlanta RB who decided to sign with Wildcats rather than accept a controversial grayshirt offer from Alabama.

After Taylor was safely signed with Kentucky, his high school coach made it point to say, “We trusted the coaches at Kentucky … We felt comfortable with them, and they promised to take care of Justin.” [Click here to read more]

Kentucky’s coach was thankful for the complimentary words from North Atlanta coach Stanley Pritchett.

RB Justin Taylor signed with Kentucky rather than accepting a grayshirt offer from Alabama (AJC)

RB Justin Taylor signed with Kentucky rather than accepting a grayshirt offer from Alabama (AJC)

“We feel good that Stanley would say something like that,” Phillips told the AJC. “It had to do with relationships we have built with Stanley throughout the years. This was not our first time dealing with Stanley and one of his players. We have four or four guys on our staff at Kentucky that had some type of connection with him. And everybody here that has dealt with Stanley in the past has been honest and upfront, therefore he trusts us.”

When Taylor trusted Pritchett (who is also Taylor’s legal guardian), then Kentucky had one of Georgia’s top prospects at running back fall into its lap on signing day after an unsettling turn of events with Alabama.

“Justin leaned on the guys he knew, and Stanley leaned on the guys he knew, therefore we were able to get him,” Phillip said. “And again, I understand the commitment that Justin made to Alabama but that commitment changed [with the grayshirt condition], therefore he became available. We threw our name in the hat also, and we were able to land him, based on our relationship with Stanley and people at the school from the past.”

Kentucky has created a pipeline of talent from Georgia. The Wildcats have five coaches that actively recruit the state, including former LaGrange High School coach Steve Pardue. This year, Kentucky’s 26-member recruiting class had eight Georgia signees, led by Walton safety Zack Blaylock, Stephenson WR DeMarcus Sweat, Pebblebrook LB Khalid Henderson and Whitewater OL Jordan Watson.

Blaylock is the son of former NBA All-Star and Atlanta Hawks point guard Mookie Blaylock. Zack’s twin brother, S-LB Daron Blaylock, also signed a football scholarship with Kentucky.

“We had Zack and Daron in camp, and we used our contacts,” Phillips said. “A lot of people here in Lexington were familiar with his dad. His financial planner lives in Lexington, and I think his interior decorator is around here. Sam Bowie and Mookie Blaylock actually played together [in the NBA], so we had some contacts that gave us their names early … I think maybe at the beginning of their junior year, which is really early. We got on it and [assistant Greg Nord] went down and started establishing a relationship with them.

“We had a chance to get to know those guys and they fit the profile of what we’re looking for at Kentucky. No. 1, it was authentic when they committed. It was hard for other colleges to turn them because of the type of relationships we had established with them … There were people coming in and trying to turn them, especially with the year those two had, and we were able to hang onto them because they understand what the word ‘commitment’ means with the type of character that they have.”

Walton DB Zack Blaylock (pictured) or Stephenson WR DeMarcus Sweat could make an instant impact at Kentucky next year (AJC)

Walton DB Zack Blaylock (pictured) or Stephenson WR DeMarcus Sweat could make an instant impact at Kentucky next year (AJC)

One more question with Joker Phillips: How did the SEC’s new over-signing rules affect Kentucky’s recruiting efforts this year? “It had a little impact. A guy like Justin Taylor probably doesn’t fall to us, and is probably signed by Alabama. With the new rules, you have to be creative with how you handle recruiting now. It’s not going out and signing 28 or over-signing. You also can’t sign guys who are on the fence academically. If you do, you take a huge, huge chance … a huge risk. There were some good players who got away from the SEC because of that. Some other conferences were able to sign some guys that were at-risk academically.

“Here and now in this league, it’s becoming where you have to feel really good and really comfortable that a kid is going to qualify. You have to feel even better than that, really. You can still take chances but if it doesn’t work out, then you’re down a number on your roster. You had to play different [recruiting strategies] this year than you did in the past. But I also think a team like Kentucky benefits from the rule. It’s pretty much the same way we’ve been doing business all along. It actually helped us. We didn’t have to change as much as other SEC schools had to do.”

SINCE THE LAST TIME YOU CHECKED YOUR LAPTOP …

IT’S RAINING RECRUITING STORIES

INSTANT AJC RECRUITING CLASSICS

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

  • So much is happening so fast. Have you missed anything over the last few days? Catch up with our feed by CLICKING HERE
  • BOOKMARK the NEW AJC Recruiting homepage here
  • Want to see a list of the top 125 prospects state of Georgia who signed with D1 schools? It’s looong. Go here.

Note: Inappropriate BLOG comments and personal attacks will NOT be tolerated. We love the lively discussions but hate-filled, harassing and irresponsible comments are unacceptable.

Please Follow me on Twitter @RecruitingAJC + Please be my Facebook friend here

120 comments Add your comment

Dawg ii

February 28th, 2012
7:09 am

I’m glad to see that Coach Phillips has some of the same honesty and integrity that Coach Richt has. Best wishes to Justin Taylor at Kentucky, well except for one game every season.

slydog

February 28th, 2012
7:18 am

So what? Joker Phillips will be fired by season’s end. He just doesn’t have enough good players and they seemed under coached last year. How can an offensive guru/ HC, have such an awful QB?

Mrs. Saban

February 28th, 2012
7:25 am

I told Nick that guy would bad mouth him when he jerked him around. Nicky don’t need no gimpy football players. We wish him well up there, but we is always recruiting and turning over rocks down here,,,,,and Nicky only has commitment to little ole me, not any of them smelly ball players.

johnny too good

February 28th, 2012
7:51 am

glad Taylor landed somewhere after dealing with Saban, and how can we expect the players to honor a commitment if the coaches dont honor their verbal offers?

http://www.youtube.com/thatsjohnanderson

Blackoutanyone?

February 28th, 2012
7:56 am

“After Taylor was SAFELY signed with Kentucky” bwaaa haaaa haaa haaaa ohhh wow thats funny! Lame but funny!! So to review….. Saban asks Taylor to delay his enrollment by SIX months to recover from injury…. in doing so put this young man in harms way? MC don’t worry about those who say you’ve milked this story for all it’s worth. No sir…. keep pumping that UGA agenda… lol unfortunatley for you and all the other dawg fans on here… these lame blog shots at Saban wont help one bit. Saban will sign the top two players from jawja this year. Keep up the good work.
ROLL TIDE!!!!

FL Jacket

February 28th, 2012
8:18 am

Blackoutanyone…

Please explain to me how delaying a kid from starting his degree is good for him?

Bama Fan#2

February 28th, 2012
8:44 am

Alabama and the AJC are like oil and water DO NOT MIX!!
Furman Bisher startled this crap with Bear Bryant and now
with this story about Justin Taylor. Micheal you made the
Capstone report with this article. RTR

RTR22

February 28th, 2012
8:54 am

Fl Jacket ask Falcons QB JP Wilson that question….AJC keep Bama on the front page lol

RTR, number one in national championships, 22 SEC Titles, and 32 TEN WIN Seasons.

FL Jacket

February 28th, 2012
8:59 am

So RTR22…

Nobody is impressed with blissful ignorance and evading serious questions. It’s why nobody takes anything associated with the University of Alabama seriously.

But of course, I would have to remember that such arrogance is built recently upon 2 NC wins where A) Colt McCoy had a freak injury, and B) Bama was VOTED into a game it had no business being in (just like Florida in 2006).

SECIsFootball

February 28th, 2012
9:02 am

Fl Jacket….William Vlachos, University of Alabama graduate and 3 year starting center for the Tide thinks it worked out just fine. John Parker Wilson, University of Alabama graduate and backup QB for the Atlanta Falcons had no issue with it either. Just sayin…

SECIsFootball

February 28th, 2012
9:05 am

FL Jacket….That doesn’t change the fact that Alabama has won 2 of the last 3 national titles. LSU was “voted into a game” in 2007
when they had 2 losses on the season and they still claim that title too. I guess you should have told the committee that YOU didn’t think Alabama should be in that game. Maybe they would have changed their minds.

SECIsFootball

February 28th, 2012
9:08 am

johnny too good…I really hope you are not a UGA fan. If so, there was a story about a RB from GA that recently committed to UCLA. He had an offer from UGA and tried to commit but Richt turned down his commitment while at the same time still recruiting another RB. How could anyone trust a coach like Richt who doesn’t honor his verbal offers.

FL Jacket

February 28th, 2012
9:08 am

SECisFootball…

That’s like a Customer telling you “I’d be happy to wait for you to finish what you’re doing”…don’t kid yourself nobody likes to wait.

YES…Vlachos and JPW did have issues with it (if they didn’t they aren’t competitive people) but chose to stick it out.

FL Jacket

February 28th, 2012
9:10 am

SECisFootball…

Luckily we won’t have to endure this arbitrary picking of “top 2 teams”…the playoff is coming and nothing could be better for college sports

Blackoutanyone?

February 28th, 2012
9:17 am

Fl jacket… This kid was offered a scholarship for one reason…he can play football at a very high level. We can spin this a million ways but that’s what it boils down to. If he can’t compete at a high level then its best for all involved that he wait until he can. Asking him to delay six months to heal completely is not putting the kid in danger. Had Saban refused to honor his scholarship offer at that time then I could understand the backlash. This is nothing more than one writer with an agenda. Nothing can be added to this that hasn’t been said because this is the 5th or 6th blog on the Justin Taylor situation. Tell me what is worse? Asking a kid to delay 6 months or stop recruiting the kid all together as UGA and GT did once he was hurt. We get 6 articles on this yet CMR pulled a kid’s offer last week and that’s the end of the story. He told the kid he couldn’t take anymore RB’s yet he’s still actively recruiting several. Of course we don’t have the pointed in depth questions with all involved like we do with anything involving Saban. Lol its all good. Part of being a Champion…everyone wants to take a shot.

SECIsFootball

February 28th, 2012
9:20 am

FL Jacket…know it all’s like yourself are the most amusing people on this board. “Vlachos and JPW did have issues with it.” Like you would know what either of these guys thought of their recruitment. Both were 3 star guys who wanted to play for the University of Alabama and did so regardless of when they enrolled. Please stop acting like you know how 2 kids felt about it. And if making them want to stick with Alabama regardless of when they enrolled makes them non-competitive people, well I sure as hell and glad we got those 2 non-competitive guys who both started multiple years for the Tide, got their degrees and represented Alabama in a first class manner.

FL Jacket

February 28th, 2012
9:25 am

Blackoutanyone…

I think MC said it best in a caption…”Your scholarship offer from Nick Saban is safe unless your get hurt before you sign, or he can fill your spot with someone better”.

This isn’t an agenda against Alabama. It’s an agenda against unethical recruiting practices…and unfortunately the last half-decade of MNCs in NCAA football has been built on the back of oversigning, rampant attrition, and turrning the recruiting process into a circus.

GT stopped didn’t need to recruit Justin Taylor once they signed Marcus Allen out of Hilliard, FL.

Lakedawg

February 28th, 2012
9:27 am

An article about the young man signing with Kentucky and here come the obsesses Bammers start slamming Dawgs.

Shame they do not have newspapers in that backward state, so they could obsess about Aubarn instead of the Dawgs.

FL Jacket

February 28th, 2012
9:28 am

SECisFootball…

If you want me to stop pretending I know what those kids want, you should do the same and stop assuming they were happy grayshirting. There’s a ton of now nameless kids long forgotten in the wake of the way the Alabamas and the LSUs recruit…naming 2 of the kids that made it doesn’t change anything.

navy92

February 28th, 2012
9:38 am

Good for Justin. He gets to play college football. I’m happy for him and it’s good that he’s around coaches that he trust.

Tidal Wave

February 28th, 2012
9:40 am

Enough with this story already. There is nothing wrong with Greyshirting a player who can not practice or play in 2012 anyway. If he wanted to wait until January 2013 he could. CNS and staff instill discipline, work ethic and most importantly improve the skills of the players once they get on campus. Add the ingredients up and it spells NC’s in two out of three years and UA is one of the favorites again in 2013. I guess the Yellow Jacket fans are sore about having to fight it out with Georgia Southern for all of your Option offense recruits.

FL Jacket

February 28th, 2012
9:48 am

Tidal Wave…

By option offense recruits you mean Justin Thomas who was committed to Alabama until he read through the lines and figured out he wasn’t going to play QB?

Don’t worry, like CNS said…”the fans don’t need to know” about how he recruits. Sounds more like the fans don’t want to know…

Big Crimson 75

February 28th, 2012
9:51 am

Someone please kill this Horse — I’m begging @ this point.

This story hasn’t changed since 2 weeks before NSD.

Bama's Fake National Titles

February 28th, 2012
9:53 am

TIDAL WAVE, are you a medical doctor? How do you know that Justin Taylor won’t play or practice in 2012? Did Nick Saban tell you that over cocktails last night? Of course, you Bammers want this story to go away. It’s am embarrassment to your national championship and hurts your recruiting in Georgia. It’s Georgia players that make up just about that whole team.

Big Crimson 75

February 28th, 2012
9:55 am

Jacket — there was nothing hidden with J. Thomas.
Every recruiting site had him listed as a DB not a QB when he was committed to Alabama.
When he flipped, the Headlines all read the same — Player chooses GT to have a chance @ playing QB. We already had a QB committed in the class before/after Thomas flipped.
Don’t make something out of nothing.

SECIsFootball

February 28th, 2012
9:59 am

FL Jacket….never once did I say they were happy about it. They knew about it well in advance and agreed to it. I guess it meant more for them to play at Alabama and enroll in Jan than it did for them to go elsewhere. All I simply said was it seemed to have worked out pretty well for them.

FL Jacket

February 28th, 2012
10:01 am

Oh, one more thing Tidal Wave…

Ask CNS how tough that Georgia Southern triple-option was this past season? They racked up over 300 yards rushing and scored the most points against Bama (IIRC) this season…

FL Jacket

February 28th, 2012
10:03 am

BC75…

Justin Thomas committed to Alabama as an Athlete with the chance to play QB…he never committed to Bama as a DB or WR.

Big Crimson 75

February 28th, 2012
10:09 am

Out of a depth chart of 120 players, including walk-ons, the University of Alabama has 13 players from the state of Georgia. 13 out of 120. That’s 9%.
Fake — that makes up just about the whole team?…….Help me out with that Math please.

….And this list includes Michael Bowman(Rossville) & Ronald Carswell(Macon) who likely will not be returning to the Capstone.

Wet Willie...keep on smiling

February 28th, 2012
10:20 am

Justin Thomas was recruited as a DB at Alabama and nothing else!!! Just like Malcom Mitchell was recruited as a DB by Nick Saban!!! Playing college football at Kentucky…Oh the Irony.
Greyshirting is history as well as taking players that will not qualify due to the 25 thing. Any player that goes the old greyshirt route (delayed entry) will sign nothing on NSD and it will be the honor system only. If a kid really wants to go to his special school of his dreams and has grade issues or just isn’t good enough to get a scholly for that year will wait and trust the HC to honor his promise of a scholly. Continue to bash Nick because he and Bama will continue to bash the rest of the teams on the field. Really,,, a GT fan speaking about college football…give me a break sport. The Bama fans try and give you guys a break but the fact is you suck. Good thing you had Bobby Dodd…that is until Coach Bryant ran his azz out of town. Thery’re still looking for Chick Grannings(sp) teeth correct? Just Kidding.

Big Crimson 75

February 28th, 2012
10:23 am

Sorry Jacket — any list – any site — when Thomas was committed to Bama — DB was beside his name.

FL Jacket

February 28th, 2012
10:32 am

BC75…

Using a recruiting website as a reference is pretty weak. They list players by what position that site’s “experts” think the recruit will play at the next level. Not to start an argument over semantics here, but it’s pretty obvious Justin Thomas wasn’t committed to play at Alabama at DB or WR…or he wouldn’t have committed as early as he did.

Blackoutanyone?

February 28th, 2012
10:33 am

Fljacket… Care to name just one prospect who’s scholly was pulled to give to a better player? You seem like a reasonable individual at times. But anyone can come on here and make up a bunch of trash then hit submit.

Tidal Wave

February 28th, 2012
10:48 am

Really just a matter of jealousy with the GT and UGA fans who know you are second and third tier compared to the football legacy at Alabama. We don’t see the Florida and LSU fans crying, I guess because have actually won multiple championships this century. I know GT won in the 1940’s or something but both UGA and GT have won 1 NC each in modern history of CF. The Tide just has the best coach in CF and also the best fans who pack the stadium 90,000 strong for a spring game. Enjoy watching us compete for the NC this year while both GT and UGA play for the Chick Fila Bowl.

FL Jacket

February 28th, 2012
10:51 am

Blackoutanyone…

I have yet to hear a Bama fan explain to me the Math (and I have a Tech engineering degree) behind the way CNS handles “Roster management” in a way that does not lead to the conclusion of “forced attrition”.

Whether leading the country in the use of medical hardships (with Les Miles not far behind), or letting go of the Chris Jacksons of the world, CNS doesn’t have to pay for recruiting and evaluation mistakes the way many schools do because most schools actually do honor all 4 years of eligibility for a commit.

Big Crimson 75

February 28th, 2012
10:59 am

Jacket — nice of you to bring up the Chris Jackson’s of the world — what was different b/t Jackson leaving Bama for GT & Colin Peak doing the opposite?

Big Crimson 75

February 28th, 2012
11:00 am

When Johnson informed Peak that his offense doesn’t use TE’s — Is that not Roster Management?

FL Jacket

February 28th, 2012
11:05 am

BC75…

I’m sure Colin Peek, Taylor Bennett, and others were given the option to stay if they wanted to finish their degree…but they were granted a release if they didn’t.

“Roster management” is whole other world away from granting a release for a kid who might want to play in a similar system at another school.

The Bear

February 28th, 2012
11:12 am

@FL Jacket instant gratification is now the norm for society right? Patience is a “virtue” I heard that somewhere before. I love how many of the posters on here use the MNC moniker as there call sign of an inept football program. How many times are you guys and gals going to re-hash these same stories over and over again? If you are so concerned with cleaning up college football take your crusade to the NCAA and present the facts of NCAA rule violations to them, seems you have them all figured out.

Roll Tide

[...] Kentucky appreciates “trust factor” in signing of Atlanta running back [...]

U

February 28th, 2012
11:20 am

Blackout, for someone who appears to LIVE on these message boards, you certainly are ignorant to the agenda of the writer. This is by far the most consistently anti-UGA column in the entire sports section.

SECIsFootball

February 28th, 2012
11:26 am

FL Jacket…Thomas would have gotten a shot at QB but would not have stayed there. Eventually he would have been moved to DB and he knew it. If he really thought he could have played QB at Alabama, do you think he would have decommitted and then committed to GT? Come on man!

Wet Willie...keep on smiling

February 28th, 2012
11:27 am

Losers…those that try and talk the competition down to their level. As Dirt Harry said…” at least you know your limitations” and GT and UGA’s are documented! Next time you tour the area with your trophycase notice how quickly you’re done! If Mike is trying to help his favorite school then I salute you. If someone else is buying this spot then shame on you sir. You just might be able to convince some of the parents of players to bypass Bama (the Jenkins) but in the end nothing will save Richt. The competition in the SEC is just too much for an average coach like Mark to be a big winner again. Saban,MIles,Petrino (you can’t avoid this bunch forever) nor will UT and UF be down forever. Had UGA had Bama or Ark on the schedule this year Richt might just be gone already for he got a free pass and is setup for another next year on paper.

RammaBama

February 28th, 2012
11:56 am

at uk, he may not even see a bowl game. At Bama, he would be playing for titles and big crystal balls in big games.

Blackoutanyone?

February 28th, 2012
12:00 pm

FL Jacket… so you answer my question with a question. Alabama sustains higher roster attrition do to several factors. One being the NFL draft. You will see 3 players selected in the first round who still had a year of eligiblity left at Bama. Another is discipline. When you have a roster filled with elite talent there is no reason to cater to a few bad apples. If a kid can not follow the rules, academic or otherwise, that player will find himself off the team at Alabama. Of course you can spin it how you choose. I ask for you to name just one… just one single player who was cut for a better player or a committed player who lost a scholarship to a better player. You made the statement above… I just ask you to back it up.

BamaGuy

February 28th, 2012
12:05 pm

BamaGuy

February 28th, 2012
12:09 pm

have yet to hear a Bama fan explain to me the Math (and I have a Tech engineering degree) behind the way CNS handles “Roster management” in a way that does not lead to the conclusion of “forced attrition”.

Heck, the coaches association should let Saban teach a course on “Roster Management”…Apparently, he is pretty good at it…

FL Jacket

February 28th, 2012
12:14 pm

Blackoutanyone…

CNS is never going to come out and say that, and you know that as well. Interesting piece on Oversigning.com (a few articles down) on how Saban met 85…

http://oversigning.com/testing/

ps…no disrespect to Arron Douglas RIP

Blackoutanyone?

February 28th, 2012
12:15 pm

U… let me draw you a picture. Say Saban came into Georgia and went to church with the #1 prospect. Then a church official commented that the congregation was surprised as was the offering plate. Then the #1 recruit decided to sign with Bama. How many articles would the AJC pump out?

or

Let’s say a High School coach from Florida had a 5 star OL. For whatever reason this HS coach wanted a new job. Then the HS coach lists Saban as a recommendation for a job in Tuscaloosa even though they have no prior history aside from the recruitment of said player. Do you think we might get an article or two about that on here?

or

Let’s say a prospect who is offered by Saban in the 10th grade. The prospect tries to commit to Saban but he is told Alabama is full at that position for 2013. Then Saban is caught recruiting that position 2 days later. Think we would get a few articles on that?

These are all things MC blogged on regarding UGA. None of which had half the in depth, pointed questions as you’ll see in the one above. Look bro it’s all good. Everyone wants to take a shot at the Champions. Bama fans know this… but save me the anti-UGA angle.

FL Jacket

February 28th, 2012
12:16 pm

Blackoutanyone…

Lots of “medical hardships” and guys transferring to other colleges.