Three months after signing day, Alabama coach Nick Saban finally spoke publicly about his controversial recruitment of Justin Taylor.
Taylor, the running back from North Atlanta High School, had been committed to Alabama for nearly a year but was told a few weeks before signing day that he couldn’t sign with the Crimson Tide. Click here to read more
Saban said it because of Taylor’s knee injury that cut 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. Taylor ended up signing with Kentucky in February over waiting on Alabama.
On Tuesday, Saban was asked to clarify Taylor’s situation:
“I don’t think I should even be commenting on that because these guys … we’re not supposed to comment about these recruits unless they’re coming to our place,” Saban said.
“But you know, we made a rule in the SEC that you can’t oversign. We had an injured player [Taylor] who agreed to start school in January and then changed his mind. And then we were full. What else could we do?
“But it’s good that you all created such a tremendous story about all of this. My honesty and integrity about the kids has always been straight up and up front. We never get rid of any kids. We made an agreement, and the guy [Taylor] changed his mind. He got to do what he wanted to do, and we’re disappointed he’s not coming to our place.”
RELATED: Saban was, by far, the most popular D1 football coach out of 16 participating in Tuesday’s Chik-fil-A Bowl Challenge in Greensboro. He had 23 officials from either ESPN’s production crew or the tournament support staff following him around the golf course.
After the round, Saban patiently took questions from reporters and signed autographs for a dozen fans. He cracked a small grin when he was asked about a ball marker with the picture of the late pop music singer Michael Jackson that he had clipped to the top of his Cabana hat.
“It was a practical joke played on me because when we played LSU the first time, ESPN was in my car and Michael Jackson was playing [on the car stereo],” Saban said. “My buddies that I play golf with got me a Michael Jackson marker.”
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– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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