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Tuesday, February 19, 2013
ATH Taylor talks Vols, Huskers

By Dave Hooker

Blaise Taylor saw a different Tennessee during his visit last weekend.

Formerly a Knoxville resident, the athlete prospect from Auburn (Ala.) High saw new coaches, a refurbished stadium and vastly different facilities while in Knoxville for the Volunteers' junior day Saturday. Tennessee is pursuing Taylor aggressively. The Vols are the first BCS school to offer him a scholarship.

"It was great," the 5-foot-7, 165-pound Taylor said. "They added a lot of new facilities since I was there."

Taylor once was clad daily in Tennessee gear. His father, Trooper Taylor, was a fan-favorite coach for the Volunteers from 2004 to 2007. Since then, the Vols have had three coaching changes.

Still, credit the Volunteers for getting to know the younger Taylor. He said visits with head coach Butch Jones, recruiting coordinator and receiver coach Zach Azzani and defensive backs coach Willie Martinez were highlights of the trip. Taylor said he isn't sure if he'll play receiver or defensive back in college.

"I think it kind of depends on the team," Taylor said.

Taylor said he has seen recent interest from Auburn, Alabama, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Stanford. He has strong ties to the Southeast.

"Probably so," Taylor said when asked if he'll play his college football in the Southeast. "Or head out to the West Coast because I hadn't been there before. I went out there for some unofficial visits last summer and I liked it."

As far as returning home, it seems that's not going to happen. Because of his father's career with coaching stops in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Alabama, Taylor only has a pseudo-home.

"I've moved around so much, but the only place that really feels like home is Texas twice a year," Taylor said. "We go there twice a year. That's where my family is, so that most feels like home."

Taylor is also a standout baseball player but said he's leaning toward football in college. He plans to graduate in December so he can enroll in January. Having a renowned recruiter that just happens to be his father can only benefit him.

"It helps me a lot," Taylor said. "One, the coaches already know that my dad coached before. We talk X's and O's and build our relationships and don't worry about fast talk.

"Two, because I've seen how guys handled their recruitments. I've seen the good and the bad."

Meanwhile, tradition has opened the door for Nebraska.

"I don't know much about them," Taylor admitted shortly after an offer from the Cornhuskers. "But I know they have a great tradition with their defenses and had a top DB a couple of years ago."

That top defensive back was cornerback Prince Amukamara. He was selected with the No. 19 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft.