LB Taylor loves to hit, commits to Vols

Tennessee secured its 15th commitment of the 2010 signing class when Michael Taylor said he would play for the Vols.

The linebacker from Westlake High School in Atlanta picked UT over several schools, including Alabama, Georgia and LSU.

He watched UT’s practice Saturday with his parents at Neyland Stadium during an unofficial visit.

“I’m very excited about my decision,” Taylor told Scout.com.

Taylor said his instincts are a primary strength of his game.

“I have good instincts and I can get to any play,” the 6-foot, 200-pounder said. “I move well and I love to hit. I love contact and running through people. I’m not afraid to go into anything. I want to work on shedding blockers and get my upper body even stronger. I’m also working on my technique.”

UT coaches Lance Thompson and Ed Orgeron recruited Taylor. Taylor hopes to graduate in December and enroll at Tennessee in January.

Taylor registered 160 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, eight forced fumbles, five sacks and three fumbles recoveries as a junior in 2008.

Scout recruiting analyst Chad Simmons, spoke highly of UT’s newest commitment.

“Taylor is a linebacker that plays at a high speed and a high level of intensity,” according to Simmons. “He has a nose for the ball and he is constantly in on plays from sideline to sideline.

“He plays low, he has very good tackling form, and he delivers a lot of pop when making plays. He needs to work on not letting (offensive linemen) get their hands on him and dropping back into coverage. Middle (linebacker) is the ideal spot for him.”

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Comments » 60

dvhill100 writes:

Sweet!!

HallowedHill writes:

Yes! Welcome aboard Mr. Taylor!!

JRoseForVols writes:

its gonna be a good season

Volsnfl writes:

Heck yea,somke in the house,go vols.

chrisw2967 writes:

keep them coming

wags32 writes:

Great keep it up! By the way wanted to mention Urban Wiener made the comment on CSS Talkin Football that his assistant coaches mentioned to him that Troy had a better scheme and players than teams they will play diectly after that game. The next game is Tennessee. Seems like a bit of a jab there.

UTVolsFan7 writes:

Michael Taylor is rated four stars and a grade of 80% by ESPN. However, congrats to the coaching and recruiting staff to some more excellent work. Michael Taylor will be coached and pushed by two superb coaches in Lance Thompson and the defensive guru Monte Kiffin. He will be an excellent linebacker for our Vols next season. Keep up the excellent work coaches and staff. You all are doing a fantastic job. Go Vols!!!!!!!

IBleedOrange444 writes:

Welcome to the Hill Micheal. Go Vols!!

Volsnfl writes:

WOO EY,THAT KID CAN MOVE AND HIT

golfballs03 writes:

He might be underrated. Scouts, Inc has him as a 4-star and Top 150 player in the country.

golfballs03 writes:

Scouts, Inc:
Taylor knows one style of play on the football field -- fast and physical. This guy plays hard on every snap and sets the tempo of the defense with his relentless pursuit and excellent explosiveness. Plays middle linebacker and may be a bit undersized at this time to maintain his base inside, but has adequate height and a well-built, quick-twitched body that allows him to play much bigger. Fills fast and hard between the tackles with good leverage and great short-area power. Jolts blockers and ball carriers back with great pop from his hips and lower-body. Consistently beats blockers to the point of attack with his good first-step quickness and striking downhill burst. Takes direct pursuit angles. Very reactive and is difficult to reach at the 2nd level. Does shows some wasted motion and stiffness opening to turn and change direction but is a sideline-to-sideline guy who chases down ball carriers with great acceleration and closing speed. A high impact, collision type of tackler who can force a turnovers and make the big play. However, at times he does over pursue the cutback and struggles to recover sharply. We question his ability breakdown and mirror quicker D-I skill players on the perimeter if employed on the outside. Off-tackle pursuit angles can be rounded at times. Better attacking vertically with his great speed than laterally. Coverage skills are adequate; he does a very good job blanketing his underneath zone. Would need added size and improved hand technique to play the middle as well as work on his reads, often guesses gaps, but hips may end up being better suited inside or outside in a heavy pressure, attack style defense. A great blitzer. Overall, Taylor is a disruptive, high energy linebacker who will offer his future defensive coordinator good scheme versatility. A guy who needs to be blocked on every snap. Should be a stud in kick coverage as well.

miamiVOL writes:

Rivals.com analyst Jamie Newberg has been raving about him, a 4* on their update, not that it matters. His offer list speaks for itself, also is an above average student

TnScooby writes:

in response to BrutoVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

So what???

Hounddog writes:

Wekcome to UT and Let's play football. Hounddog

NobodyCares (Inactive) writes:

in response to BrutoVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Like the Sears Tower, you can change the name, but you will ALWAYS be known as lil' zzgatorboy.

Txvol57 writes:

This kid can fly and explodes when he hits people. He will have a 4th star when its all said and done...check the video and watch how he explodes into the ball carriers.

http://rivals.yahoo.com/video/recruit...

bluetick writes:

I think we will get Cobbs too. Here's to hoping so!

IBleedOrange444 writes:

in response to BrutoVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Nice try troll. They don't usually invite kids to the Under Armour game that can't play:

Aug. 8
Michael Taylor, OLB

Atlanta, GA

Westlake High School

Scouts Grade: 80
ESPN150 Rank: 140
Position Rank: 12
Vols land Under Armour All-American Michael Taylor
ESPNU 150 Watch List outside linebacker Michael Taylor of Westlake (Atlanta, Ga.) has accepted a Class of 2010 offer from Tennessee.

Taylor, who registered 128 tackles and six sacks as a junior, also considered Miami-Florida, LSU and Stanford.

Several other programs such as Georgia, Georgia Tech, Alabama, Mississippi, Mississippi State, North Carolina State, Illinois, Purdue, Southern Mississippi and Virginia Tech have also offered Taylor.

The 6-foot-0, 200-pound athlete posted an electronically-timed 4.54 40-yard dash, 4.38 20-yard shuttle and 29-inch vertical at the Atlanta Nike Combine.

Tennesse now has 15 commitments.

Welcome to UT once again Mike.

Stepchild_nFL writes:

Had to be the billboard. All he kept hearing was "its Time"

PHIVOL writes:

Those Vols billboards are working in Atlanta!

IBleedOrange444 writes:

in response to PHIVOL:

Those Vols billboards are working in Atlanta!

May have more to do with the work Lance Thompson is doing in Atl than the billboards.

golfballs03 writes:

in response to IBleedOrange444:

May have more to do with the work Lance Thompson is doing in Atl than the billboards.

Not unless Lance Thompson has his own billboards.

tdtnsee writes:

Anyone heard anything about Cobbs? Great get, this kid seems to be a highly regarded player!

ArealVolFan writes:

in response to BrutoVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Guy is a 4 star D.A.

Cldvols1 writes:

Like Mickey D's I'm lovin it! Go Vols!!!

WESTHIGHLB96 writes:

in response to golfballs03:

Scouts, Inc:
Taylor knows one style of play on the football field -- fast and physical. This guy plays hard on every snap and sets the tempo of the defense with his relentless pursuit and excellent explosiveness. Plays middle linebacker and may be a bit undersized at this time to maintain his base inside, but has adequate height and a well-built, quick-twitched body that allows him to play much bigger. Fills fast and hard between the tackles with good leverage and great short-area power. Jolts blockers and ball carriers back with great pop from his hips and lower-body. Consistently beats blockers to the point of attack with his good first-step quickness and striking downhill burst. Takes direct pursuit angles. Very reactive and is difficult to reach at the 2nd level. Does shows some wasted motion and stiffness opening to turn and change direction but is a sideline-to-sideline guy who chases down ball carriers with great acceleration and closing speed. A high impact, collision type of tackler who can force a turnovers and make the big play. However, at times he does over pursue the cutback and struggles to recover sharply. We question his ability breakdown and mirror quicker D-I skill players on the perimeter if employed on the outside. Off-tackle pursuit angles can be rounded at times. Better attacking vertically with his great speed than laterally. Coverage skills are adequate; he does a very good job blanketing his underneath zone. Would need added size and improved hand technique to play the middle as well as work on his reads, often guesses gaps, but hips may end up being better suited inside or outside in a heavy pressure, attack style defense. A great blitzer. Overall, Taylor is a disruptive, high energy linebacker who will offer his future defensive coordinator good scheme versatility. A guy who needs to be blocked on every snap. Should be a stud in kick coverage as well.

where did you get your info

Down_The_Field writes:

welcome to the hill, young man.

now it's time to...hit....wrap...and drive through a red elefant.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to BrutoVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Gatorz is back

IBleedOrange444 writes:

in response to golfballs03:

Not unless Lance Thompson has his own billboards.

I don't get it. Lance Thompson and Coach O are the ones who recruitted him so I was just giving credit where it is due.

Fryinpansvols writes:

Looks like we have a gamer at Linebacker!

vol_chaz writes:

Great pickup for the Vols..

DisorientedVol writes:

Great pickup. He sounds like he may be smart enough to run the defense. I still would like to see one more linebacker. Keep them comming! Go Vols.

rockytopatl writes:

in response to WESTHIGHLB96:

where did you get your info

Duh! He sources his info on the first line: Scouts.

RockyTop10nessee writes:

Runs a 4.5....very impressive. Loves To hit. He will be more than likely be able to play right away. Great commit..

rich182x writes:

I watched the vid, and I love how fast he shoots gaps and pops someone in the mouth~! Go Vols

UrbanCryer writes:

in response to volzone919:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

sorry to break the news but nsd is in feb.

BSweet writes:

I like that he's another one of these kids that could be a mid-term enrollee. That extra time to develop is huge.

Txvol57 writes:

in response to WESTHIGHLB96:

where did you get your info

you can find this exact article on ESPN.com click under college football and then click recruiting...just type in the players name and hit search

Txvol57 writes:

in response to JBVols1698:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

no one cares about you...this kid had offers from Purdue and Georgia Tech....two of the top Engineering programs in the country to go along with an offer from Stanford...Im sure you had these same schools lined up for you as well

bloodrunsorange writes:

in response to RockyTop10nessee:

Runs a 4.5....very impressive. Loves To hit. He will be more than likely be able to play right away. Great commit..

Let’s just say 28 scholarships are our limit this year. Taylor is good news, but here are 5 LBs that I still have on my board, Gabe King (5, NC), Jeff Luc (5, FL), Justin McCay (5, KS), Khairi Fortt (4, CT), and Josh Shirley (4, CA). We have 3 LBs committed. Does that mean these guys are out? We probably need to sign 3 – 4, Ss and CBs. With that in mind and 8 committed on the defensive side already what about DTs Calvin Barnett (4, OK), Maurice Hayes (JC4, GA), Fre'Shad Hunter (4, NC), Craig Sanders (4, AL), George Uko (4, CA), Brandon Willis (4, SC), Calvin Smith (3, FL), and Jeffrey Whitaker (3, GA)? What about DEs Corey Lemonier (5, FL), Ronald Powell (5, CA), Wayne Dorsey (JC4, MS), Ego Ferguson (4, MD), and Craig Sanders (4, AL)? With 8 committed and let’s say 3 CBs and Ss. That leaves 3 - 4 scholarships available, right? We are looking good on the WRs but there are still out there Kyle Prater (5, IL), Demarco Cobbs (4, OK), Chris Dunkley (4, FL), Christian Green (4, FL), Kenny Stills (4, CA), Kenbrell Thompkins (JC4, CA), Robert Woods (4, CA), Ted Meline (3, FL), Kenny Shaw (3, FL), and James Wright (3, LA) with a real good chance at 3 of the top receivers in the country plus the others. Also, we have 3 OLs committed and we have an excellent chance with at lease 3 of the best lineman in the country, Sharrif Floyd (5, PA), Damien Robinson (5, MS), Chaz Green (4, FL), Matt James (4, OH), T.J. Leifheit (4, NC), James Stone (4, TN), John Cullen (JC3, CA), Chuckie Curry (JC3, MS), and Roszell Gayden (JC4, CA, NSO). We’ll probably sign 1 -2 Freshman QBs and at least 1 - 2 RBs. The point is we have already “9”, 3 stars committed with several of the best prospects in the entire country that we might get. I do realize that several of our 3 stars will become 4 stars before but several won’t. When Florida, LSU, Alabama, Georgia, and Southern Cal want the athlete, chances are very good he would help our team, not always but very good. Not all 3 stars are Al Wilson and help produce National Championships and I agree not all 5 stars do either. I still contend 5 stars will produce more talent over all than 3 stars. Ask Eric Berry, and yes you’ll say ask Ben Martin? Point taken but I still believe 5 stars will produce more top talent.

Voluvr writes:

Whoa. Go to volquest and see his tape. (the one that doesn't require membership) Smart, fast, big hitter. This is a huge pick-up. Had about 12 offers at least. Although rivals didn't show them as offered, he states Jawja offered him on his birthday.........good try.

Great job coaches!

blitzshoot writes:

Welcome aboard LT, I mean MT

volstokke writes:

This is a great commitment. This guy can be coached on the system and fit in well in a couple of years. Should be very helpful on special teams. GO VOLS!

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

in response to bloodrunsorange:

Let’s just say 28 scholarships are our limit this year. Taylor is good news, but here are 5 LBs that I still have on my board, Gabe King (5, NC), Jeff Luc (5, FL), Justin McCay (5, KS), Khairi Fortt (4, CT), and Josh Shirley (4, CA). We have 3 LBs committed. Does that mean these guys are out? We probably need to sign 3 – 4, Ss and CBs. With that in mind and 8 committed on the defensive side already what about DTs Calvin Barnett (4, OK), Maurice Hayes (JC4, GA), Fre'Shad Hunter (4, NC), Craig Sanders (4, AL), George Uko (4, CA), Brandon Willis (4, SC), Calvin Smith (3, FL), and Jeffrey Whitaker (3, GA)? What about DEs Corey Lemonier (5, FL), Ronald Powell (5, CA), Wayne Dorsey (JC4, MS), Ego Ferguson (4, MD), and Craig Sanders (4, AL)? With 8 committed and let’s say 3 CBs and Ss. That leaves 3 - 4 scholarships available, right? We are looking good on the WRs but there are still out there Kyle Prater (5, IL), Demarco Cobbs (4, OK), Chris Dunkley (4, FL), Christian Green (4, FL), Kenny Stills (4, CA), Kenbrell Thompkins (JC4, CA), Robert Woods (4, CA), Ted Meline (3, FL), Kenny Shaw (3, FL), and James Wright (3, LA) with a real good chance at 3 of the top receivers in the country plus the others. Also, we have 3 OLs committed and we have an excellent chance with at lease 3 of the best lineman in the country, Sharrif Floyd (5, PA), Damien Robinson (5, MS), Chaz Green (4, FL), Matt James (4, OH), T.J. Leifheit (4, NC), James Stone (4, TN), John Cullen (JC3, CA), Chuckie Curry (JC3, MS), and Roszell Gayden (JC4, CA, NSO). We’ll probably sign 1 -2 Freshman QBs and at least 1 - 2 RBs. The point is we have already “9”, 3 stars committed with several of the best prospects in the entire country that we might get. I do realize that several of our 3 stars will become 4 stars before but several won’t. When Florida, LSU, Alabama, Georgia, and Southern Cal want the athlete, chances are very good he would help our team, not always but very good. Not all 3 stars are Al Wilson and help produce National Championships and I agree not all 5 stars do either. I still contend 5 stars will produce more talent over all than 3 stars. Ask Eric Berry, and yes you’ll say ask Ben Martin? Point taken but I still believe 5 stars will produce more top talent.

good list of players. according to Jamie Newberg, we won't get many of these. I trust our staff to get their share of 4's and 5's but our bread and butter will be the staff finding the "diamonds in the rough" and making all-stars out of them.

johnlg00 writes:

Seems kinda small for an MLB, but as usual I will trust our coaches to know what they want in a player. I have always been one who discounts size and speed in favor of, you know, ability to play the game. He does seem pretty fast and everyone raves about his game instincts. Works for me.

cobbwebb writes:

to all the knuckleheads caught up in the "star system", get over it! that is how our previous staff recruited, with very little evaluation. rivals has him as a 5 star, oh we must recruit him!too much magazine recruiting. imo that was the downfall of our last staff, that and clawsons offense! this staff recruits players they have made thorough evaluations on, not where scout rates them! if monte, big ed, and coach thompson think this kid can play, then that is good enough for me! who cares what some nerdy computer geek, that never played a down of football in his life, but can post a nice message on a website thinks. GO VOLS!!!!!

BSweet writes:

in response to bloodrunsorange:

Let’s just say 28 scholarships are our limit this year. Taylor is good news, but here are 5 LBs that I still have on my board, Gabe King (5, NC), Jeff Luc (5, FL), Justin McCay (5, KS), Khairi Fortt (4, CT), and Josh Shirley (4, CA). We have 3 LBs committed. Does that mean these guys are out? We probably need to sign 3 – 4, Ss and CBs. With that in mind and 8 committed on the defensive side already what about DTs Calvin Barnett (4, OK), Maurice Hayes (JC4, GA), Fre'Shad Hunter (4, NC), Craig Sanders (4, AL), George Uko (4, CA), Brandon Willis (4, SC), Calvin Smith (3, FL), and Jeffrey Whitaker (3, GA)? What about DEs Corey Lemonier (5, FL), Ronald Powell (5, CA), Wayne Dorsey (JC4, MS), Ego Ferguson (4, MD), and Craig Sanders (4, AL)? With 8 committed and let’s say 3 CBs and Ss. That leaves 3 - 4 scholarships available, right? We are looking good on the WRs but there are still out there Kyle Prater (5, IL), Demarco Cobbs (4, OK), Chris Dunkley (4, FL), Christian Green (4, FL), Kenny Stills (4, CA), Kenbrell Thompkins (JC4, CA), Robert Woods (4, CA), Ted Meline (3, FL), Kenny Shaw (3, FL), and James Wright (3, LA) with a real good chance at 3 of the top receivers in the country plus the others. Also, we have 3 OLs committed and we have an excellent chance with at lease 3 of the best lineman in the country, Sharrif Floyd (5, PA), Damien Robinson (5, MS), Chaz Green (4, FL), Matt James (4, OH), T.J. Leifheit (4, NC), James Stone (4, TN), John Cullen (JC3, CA), Chuckie Curry (JC3, MS), and Roszell Gayden (JC4, CA, NSO). We’ll probably sign 1 -2 Freshman QBs and at least 1 - 2 RBs. The point is we have already “9”, 3 stars committed with several of the best prospects in the entire country that we might get. I do realize that several of our 3 stars will become 4 stars before but several won’t. When Florida, LSU, Alabama, Georgia, and Southern Cal want the athlete, chances are very good he would help our team, not always but very good. Not all 3 stars are Al Wilson and help produce National Championships and I agree not all 5 stars do either. I still contend 5 stars will produce more talent over all than 3 stars. Ask Eric Berry, and yes you’ll say ask Ben Martin? Point taken but I still believe 5 stars will produce more top talent.

At this point, until they prove me wrong, I trust the staff's ability to evaluate talent over the recruiting services. I don't care if a kid is a 1-star or a 5-star, as long as this staff says he can play. If the recruiting services were as accurate as some would like to think, then Fulmer would still be our coach, and we would have a couple of more championships. Wasn't it the 2005 class that was tops(or at least top 5) in the nation? How did that work out?

mbible1utk#324980 writes:

in response to JBVols1698:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

ColeTrickle writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Seems kinda small for an MLB, but as usual I will trust our coaches to know what they want in a player. I have always been one who discounts size and speed in favor of, you know, ability to play the game. He does seem pretty fast and everyone raves about his game instincts. Works for me.

keep in mind he is still in high school and 17-18 yrs old. he has a lot of maturing to do and months of college football weight training before he even starts practicing in the spring.

the tampa 2 requires a very quick MLB that can drop back in pass coverage. he should fit that mold very well. I would expect him to be at around 215 by spring practice. basically a bulked up strong safety that can disrupt the run and pass.

kiffownsfla writes:

in response to BIGGEST_UT_FAN:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

BOOK SAY WATS UP BIG!In tampa awhile. GO VOLS MIX 1 LMAO

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