- Dave Hooker, Reporter, RecruitingNation
One of the top 2015 prospects in Virginia is off and running after hearing from a pair of SEC programs.
Cornerback Garrett Taylor (Richmond, Va./St. Christopher) got offers from both Kentucky and Tennessee over the weekend. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound prospect picked up his Tennessee offer during the Volunteers’ junior day on Saturday.
"I really liked it a lot," Taylor said of the visit to Knoxville. "They showed us the new facilities they had. They showed us the indoor field, the new weight room, which is really nice. They showed us the training room, the indoor pools and the underwater treadmills.
"We got to see the stadium which seats 100,000 fans. Everything they showed us, I liked. Also, they're in the SEC, which is the best football conference in the nation right now."
Defensive backs coach Willie Martinez has been important, so far, in building the relationship with Taylor.
"[Martinez] wants to keep in contact over the phone over the next couple of weeks," Taylor said. "He wants me to call him."
Another relationship figures to be important in Taylor's recruitment. Taylor has grown close to former Tennessee defensive back coach Derrick Ansley, whom Taylor met at a Tennessee camp last summer. Ansley was hired by Kentucky after Tennessee's coaching change following the 2012 season.
"I have a real good relationship with [Ansley]," Taylor said. "He's been my favorite coach so far. He knows what he's doing. He's really into building relationships. I like him a lot so hopefully I can learn more about Kentucky.”
Taylor said he doesn't know much about Kentucky. He plans to visit Lexington for the Wildcats' spring game.
Taylor's first scholarship offer came from North Carolina. Since then, Michigan, Virginia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Maryland have all recently visited his school. Stanford requested a transcript and game video, which is currently under review.
Taylor said he plans to visit Virginia Tech and Virginia for their upcoming junior days. He's also planning a visit to see Ole Miss.
Size is certainly a factor in Taylor's recruitment. It's not often to find a sophomore cornerback that is so big and athletic.
"I feel like I'm a real physical corner, being 6-1 and 187," Taylor said. "I feel like I can challenge receivers at the line of scrimmage and have my coach let me shut off half the field and have him worry about the other side.
"I feel like I lock down a receiver. I feel like I'm a ball hawk. I like to make plays on the ball and after I get it, try to do as much as I can afterward."
Taylor's statistics for the 2012 season were minimal. That is understandable. Opposing teams learned to be wary of him when he was a freshman.
"After my freshman season, I had a pretty good year,” said Taylor, who still intercepted 4 passes and recorded 24 solo tackles. “My coaches and I talk about it a lot. Teams are definitely throwing away from me, throwing away from my side of the field.
"Once they do start throwing to my side, I did make plays on the ball. My coaches told me to take advantage of every time they threw my way. I try to do that as much as possible."
That's what college recruiters from coast-to-coast are counting on.