Garrett Taylor is heading to Penn State. The cornerback, who previously changed his mind after originally committing to Michigan, should provide a nice boost to the Nittany Lions' defense in the years ahead.
Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports provided word of the decision:
Taylor explained his decision to Wiltfong.
"It just felt like home with Coach (James) Franklin and his staff and it's a good balance academically and football wise for me," Taylor said.
Taylor is a 4-star prospect who ranks just outside the top 100 for the class of 2015, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. He also rates as the 11th-best corner in the group and is a top-10 recruit out of the state of Virginia.
As mentioned, it looked like he was heading to Michigan before he changed his mind. He announced the decision to decommit and start reconsidering his options back in October:
One other issue was the health of his knee. Steven Lorenz of 247Sports reported back in August that Taylor would miss his entire season at St. Christopher's School in Richmond after tearing the ACL in his right knee.
"I plan to get on a stricter diet than normal so I can stay in peak shape while recovering," Taylor said. "We're going to do some pool stuff and a lot of upper body weight training and conditioning during the period as well. My goal is to come back stronger than I was before the injury."
He was never a player that was overly reliant on speed to make plays. He has a strong understanding of the position and how to use his size effectively. His ball skills are also among the best of the corner group, an asset he used while also gaining some experience on the offensive side of the ball.
So even though suffering a major knee injury at this stage of a player's career is worrisome, it wasn't enough to eliminate the hype around Taylor.
The question is whether he can come back from the injury strong enough to thrive at the next level. Returning from the ailment while also trying to make the step up in competition level is going to present a serious test early in his collegiate career.
Michael Clark of Scout.com thinks the defender's versatility will help:
Taylor is a physical corner with good size and instincts. He does a nice job of reading the quarterback's eyes and has good ball skills. Taylor also does a good job of shedding blocks and is very good in run support. Overall, Taylor has a lot of natural ability. He could play either cornerback or safety at the next level.
Ultimately, while there are some uncertainties surrounding Taylor, the potential he previously showcased make him an intriguing addition. If he can get to full strength, or reach an even higher level as he suggested, he's capable of making a major impact in the coming years.
The coaching staff may decide to bring him along slowly at first just to ensure no further setbacks. Once any restrictions are removed, however, he'll definitely be a player to watch closely.