Despite Michael Taylor’s impressive resume, however, the 6-1, 200-pound athlete was not satisfied with Westlake High’s (Atlanta) results in 2008.
“For the talent we had, it was a very disappointing season,” Taylor said of the Lions’ 6-4 record. “Before I graduate, I am going to win a state championship ring, so we’re just working hard in camp right now.”
Taylor describes himself as a hard-hitting middle linebacker who possesses a motor that doesn’t quit – and the experts agree.
“Taylor plays at a high speed and a high level of intensity,” said Chad Simmons, Scout.com’s South Recruiting Analyst. “He has a nose for the ball and is constantly in on plays from sideline to sideline. He plays low, he has very good tackling form and he delivers a lot of pop when making plays. Middle linebacker is the ideal spot for him.”
Taylor confirmed that he prefers the middle position opposed to the outsides.
“In the middle, I just feel like I am in my comfort zone,” Taylor said. “This spring, I tried outside a little bit, but I think the middle is where you get the most production out of me. I know they say I need to be bigger to play middle linebacker, but I can put on 25-30 pounds easily.”
Taylor lives for the linebacker challenge of tracking down the fastest players - running backs - and taking on the biggest players on the field - offensive linemen. He also uses the position therapeutically, as a stress reliever.
“I like the fact that no matter what is going on in my life, anything that is troubling me, I can take it out on the field,” Taylor said. “As a ‘backer, you are running and hitting, so I get a chance to vent through football. You have to be half-crazy to play linebacker, but you also have to be one of the smartest players on the field.”
Taylor reports a GPA of 3.5 and earned a 1350 on his first SAT attempt. He is scheduled to tackle the ACT on June 13, and is planning on retaking the SAT sometime his senior year.
Scholarships are continually flooding through the gate, as Taylor currently has official offers from Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Illinois, LSU, Miami, N.C. State, Middle Tennessee State, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Purdue, Tennessee, Toledo, Southern Miss, Stanford, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.
While Taylor has lived in Georgia for the last four years, he is a native of California.
“I’ve missed home ever since I’ve been down here,” he said. “So I’ve really been looking into going back [to California] and playing ball. I’ve got some opportunities down here too, so I’m going to sit down and compare the two, and see where I’m going to go from there.”
Taylor has taken visits to Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Ole Miss. His summer travel log is booked with stops in Virginia, Florida and Louisiana -- as well as a trip home to the West Coast.
“As a matter of fact my plane leaves next Saturday, going back to California because my grandpa just had a knee replacement,” Taylor stated. “So my grandfather, my uncle and I are going to be driving up to Palo Alto to see Stanford.”
Although Taylor previously mentioned his top three schools were Georgia, Georgia Tech and LSU, he acknowledged that list isn’t set in stone and Stanford is in the mix.
“I know California equals beaches, beautiful women and a lot of sunshine,” he said. “So I am definitely interested in Stanford and was excited to get an offer from them, and I think they are excited about me as well.”
Michael Taylor has had the opportunity to speak with Coach Harbaugh and Coach Taggart, but isn’t eager to rush to a decision.
“You know this is a big decision, so I don’t want to make it too soon. This will be the biggest of my life so I will probably announce sometime during those 10 football weeks of my senior season.”
Taylor’s most recent speed and strength tests resulted in a 4.54 forty-yard dash, 335-pound bench press and 500-pound squat.
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