The 22nd and penultimate installment of this Better Know a Buckeye series profiles Brady Taylor, an offensive tackle prospect from Bishop Ready High School in Columbus. Taylor was an eleventh hour addition to Ohio State's recruiting class, flipping from Virginia Tech two weeks before National Signing Day. I recap this story here.
The feature proceeds in the usual fashion thereafter with a discussion of Taylor's strengths and areas for improvement. I offer speculation of a redshirt in 2014, which I think is likely, before offering highlight film for the reader to watch. I conclude with miscellaneous things about Brady Taylor you may find interesting.
High School: Bishop Ready High School; Columbus
Committed to Virginia Tech since July 2013, there are two ways to interpret the late interest Ohio State's coaches showed in Brady Taylor.
For one, the four offensive line commitments the Buckeyes had in late January did not appear to be solid. Marcelys Jones had a late flirtation with Kentucky before enrolling in January. Jamarco Jones reaffirmed his commitment to Ohio State only on the eve of National Signing Day following the departure of Mike Vrabel to the Houston Texans. "Texas Tom" Herman needed a late visit to convince Demetrius Knox to not take a visit to UCLA. Of Ohio State's four offensive line commitments at the time, only Kyle Trout was secure in his commitment.
If we permit that Ohio State's coaches felt secure that all four would ultimately stick with their verbal commitments to Ohio State, they appeared to want one more addition before the faxes started coming on National Signing Day. They wanted a tackle too. However, the options were thin by January. Roderick Johnson (Florida State) and Damian Prince (Maryland) were open but were en route to other programs.
Enter Brady Taylor, who captured the coaching staff's attention in earnest in January though had tried his hardest to get the coaches' attention in the summer. Taylor camped at Ohio State in June of last year with the explicit intent of earning a scholarship offer. He was a lifelong Buckeye fan who did not want to leave Columbus for college.
Taylor was unsuccessful in earning a scholarship offer after camp. Afterward, his focus turned to four other schools that had offered him: Kentucky, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia. That list was condensed to three (Kentucky, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia) before Taylor committed to Virginia Tech on July 29, 2013. Taylor prayed on it but felt Virginia Tech was the place for him over the more proximate Kentucky program.
[Virginia Tech] really is everything I want in a college,” Taylor said after his announcement. “I didn’t tell anyone except family and my closest friends so we kept it quiet. I am very excited.”
Brady chose Virginia Tech over the University of Kentucky for a few reasons, specifically the Hokies history of being a winning program as well as his love of the town of Blacksburg.
“It is close to home; they win a lot of football games and compete for ACC Championships. It is a small football town which is something that is important to me. Being away from home I want a place that will care about me and that is what I get in Blacksburg; it is definitely a special place.”
Taylor also cited offensive line coach Jeff Grimes as a reason for his commitment.
Entering the new year, there was no indication of Taylor being soft on his commitment. He had already used his official visit during the season and was discussing enrollment procedures and academic options with Virginia Tech's program when Ohio State contacted him again. It was one reason why Taylor was disinclined to rethink Ohio State when the coaches contacted him later in the recruiting cycle.
However, Ohio State ponied up a scholarship offer on January 12th to induce Taylor to rethink Ohio State. It led to an official visit five days later. If Taylor had been successfully induced into taking an official visit this late in the process, flipping him from Virginia Tech was a fait accompli.
On January 20, Brady Taylor became the 22nd commitment in Ohio State's 2014 recruiting class.
The process of flipping to Ohio State involved Taylor clarifying why he did not get one earlier. He told Eleven Warriors that the coaching staff gave him a few reasons for why he did not get a scholarship offer in the summer.
“(Warinner told me) That basically (the delay in the offer) was due to me not being able to attend Friday Night Lights,” Taylor said about his conversation’s with the Buckeyes. “Once the winning streak started they had little time to evaluate me. They told me that they ‘really want me to be a Buckeye’ and they think I'm a ‘damn good player.’”
Taylor became more open to considering Ohio State as it became apparent that Jeff Grimes, one of the reasons he committed to Virginia Tech, was en route to LSU as the Tigers' new offensive line coach. Ultimately, it was a realization of a childhood promise he made to mom and a realization of what he wanted all along that led to the switch.
While in eighth grade, Brady Taylor went to an Ohio State football game with his mother, Susan.
Even then, he was determined that one day he would be more than a spectator at Ohio Stadium.
“I told my mom, ‘I’m going to play here one day. You know that, right?’” Taylor recalled yesterday.
Susan was a tad skeptical. She’s such a big Buckeyes fan that she tears up during Script Ohio, Taylor said. The thought of her son playing for the Buckeyes must have seemed too good to be true.
“I said, ‘No, Mom, I’m serious,’” Taylor said. “I’m going to play here one day.”
This is how Brady Taylor chose to announce the commitment to Ohio State.
— David Wilkinson (@David10TV) January 20, 2014
Where He Excels
Despite being lower on Ohio State's board than other tackle prospects, Taylor is a good prospect. Though understanding of why he flipped to Ohio State, Virginia Tech's coaches are right to bemoan what they could have had.
Taylor is an athletic tackle. He was a former basketball player and slid to offensive tackle after previously being a wide receiver. He is nimble for the position.
I have heard from others that strengths is an issue for Taylor. That is, the change to offensive line corresponds with a need for him to acquire more strength than what is necessary to play wide receiver. This may be true, but I think strength is an attribute of Taylor right now. If he can get measurably stronger beyond the normal transition from high school to college, Taylor could be a reliable all-conference performer before he is finished at Ohio State.
Finally, Taylor has the proverbial "motor" every offensive line coach wants.
Must Work On
Taylor is new to playing on the offensive line and there is a lot of important nuance he needs to learn. The most immediate problem I see is a lack of knee bend. Taylor fires off the line of scrimmage and is almost standing straight. This is suboptimal. It leads him to derive most of his power from his upper body (again, not optimal, but still impressive). This is okay at the high school level but needs immediate attention in college football.
Somewhat new to the offensive line, Taylor also tends to use his athleticism to compensate for shortcomings in positional awareness. This is another high-priority issue to address in working with Ed Warinner.
I think so. Given Taylor's potential and inexperience on the offensive line, I think a redshirt in 2014 is likely and will do him well.
- Played in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl.
- Played with Dylan Thompson in the International Bowl.
- First team All-Ohio in Division VI.
- His senior year resulted in one of the best seasons in Bishop Ready's program history. The Silver Knights won their first nine games before losing the rivalry game to Bishop Hartley. Bishop Ready advanced to the semifinals of the state championship before losing to eventual champion Kirtland.
- Cousin played football at the Air Force Academy. An uncle played for Miami of Ohio.