Notre Dame remains on a defensive run in recruiting, as tackle Elijah Taylor is the latest defender to pledge his loyalties to the Fighting Irish. The Cincinnati standout announced the decision Friday morning on Twitter:
I'm officially committed to The University of Notre Dame!— Elijah Taylor (@Easye_58) June 13, 2014
Taylor, a composite 3-star prospect, picked Notre Dame eight months after receiving an offer. The team targeted him early during his junior season and extended the scholarship during a campus visit in October.
He returned to South Bend in April, but several suitors stayed in the picture for his pledge throughout the process. Taylor took a long look at multiple Big Ten programs, including Ohio State, Purdue and Michigan State.
His offer sheet also features Florida State, Tennessee, Kentucky and Miami.
Taylor is an athletic interior defender, standing at 6'3", 285 pounds. His frame leaves room for substantial growth at the next level, and he should be able to compete comfortably in the trenches while hovering around 300 pounds.
Taylor anchors the defensive front for national powerhouse Archbishop Moeller High School and earned a state title in 2013. He finished his junior season with 68 tackles and six sacks, per Blue and Gold Illustrated (subscription required).
At this stage of his development, Taylor is more effective as a run-stuffer than pass-rusher. His long physique, first-step quickness and large wingspan suggest he could wreak havoc as a player who can consistently penetrate the pocket from inside.
He appears disciplined enough to play the 3-technique and could vie for an early role in the rotation with a strong freshman campaign on the practice field. Taylor exhibits excellent vision, peaking into the backfield while dealing with double-team blocking schemes.
Once he identifies where the ball is headed, Taylor is decisive and attacks. His footwork leaves room for improvement, indicating we still haven't seen the best he has to offer as a defensive force.
Notre Dame now holds 12 total commits in a class that currently rates 12th in 247Sports' composite team rankings. The Fighting Irish have claimed five defensive pledges in the past two weeks, beginning with the flip of 4-star Indiana linebacker Josh Barajas from Penn State.
Taylor joins Indianapolis defensive tackle Brandon Tiassum, who committed Sunday.
Recruit information and ratings courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.