5-Star DT Prospect Leonard Taylor Commits to Miami over Florida

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 6, 2020

Credit: Andrew Ivins, 247Sports

Highly touted defensive tackle Leonard Taylor committed to Miami.

He announced his decision Thursday on CBS Sports HQ, selecting the Hurricanes over the Florida Gators.

CBS Sports HQ @CBSSportsHQ

BREAKING: 5-Star DT Leonard Taylor commits to Miami. @56reasons_ projects as a standout with All-American potential who can develop into a future first-round pick. He's got 𝐍𝐄𝐗𝐓! @247Canes | @Andrew_Ivins | @247Sports https://t.co/h4BcCBrpqc

Taylor is the No. 3 DT and No. 27 player overall in the 2021 class, per 247Sports' Composite rankings. He's also the sixth-best player in the state of Florida.

The Miami native had 68 tackles, 26 tackles for loss and 11 sacks during the 2019 season.

In his scouting report of Taylor, 247Sports' Charles Power drew a parallel to New York Jets defensive lineman Quinnen Williams:

"Is a fluid and natural athlete playing along the defensive line. Uses his length to disengage from opposing offensive linemen and wins with a strong first step and quick swim move. Incredibly disruptive as an interior pass rusher. Gets his hands on a lot of footballs whether it's by using his long arms to disrupt passing lanes or blocking kicks. Plays with good pad level and body lean. Finds multiple ways to disrupt the offensive game plan."

Given his size (6'4", 255 lbs), he looks more like an edge-rusher when he penetrates the offensive line to blow up a play in the backfield.

Luke Stampini @LukeStampini

4-star DT Leonard Taylor with the sack and safety. https://t.co/LxwGwDvUsn https://t.co/a9tgg6E0ov

Andrew Ivins @Andrew_Ivins

Palmetto rising junior DT Leonard Taylor with the pressure. Easy to see why he’s already got the big offers. https://t.co/MQRV94842K

Taylor competed in the Under Armour All-American camp in Miami in March and was one of the standout performers. His strength and athleticism were immediately apparent during the various drills.

Bud Elliott @BudElliott3

247Sports 5-star Leonard Taylor @56reasons_ through the bags at Miami Under Armour camp. https://t.co/MDghkewNRR

Craig Haubert @CraigHaubert

#ESPNJr300 Top-10 prospect Leonard Taylor was a handful at the Under Armour Miami camp - taking a lot of reps & working on the edge & inside. The #UAALLAMERICA DT displaying good quickness & active hands on this rep. @TheUCReport @56reasons_ @HamiltonESPN @DemetricDWarren https://t.co/Kfofd6Fyzk

Craig Haubert @CraigHaubert

#ESPNJr300 5-Star Leonard Taylor working off the edge w/ quick, violent hands during 1-on-1’s. The #UAALLAMERICA DL had a strong day at the Miami UA Camp. @TheUCReport @DemetricDWarren @HamiltonESPN @56reasons_ https://t.co/OBAjbvl5mC

In order to stay at defensive tackle, he'll need to add some weight. Going back to Power's comparison, Williams is listed as one inch shorter than Taylor and 48 pounds heavier on his NFL.com profile.

That's not a pressing concern, though, since getting on a regular strength-and-conditioning regimen at Miami will allow him to fill out his frame.

The physical tools are otherwise there for Taylor, and he could be unstoppable if he gets even stronger. The Miami Palmetto High School star could play right away for Miami in a situational role, and he has the potential to contend for all of the top defensive honors over the next few years.

His commitment is a massive boost for the Hurricanes' 2021 class. They were 11th in 247Sports' composite team rankings prior to Thursday's news, with James Williams the only other 5-star recruit who has pledged his future to the school.