Under new defensive line coach Brady Hoke, Tennessee is trying to make a few inroads back in the Midwest, and one of the Vols’ marquee targets is 4-star Ohio athlete Leonard Taylor.
The Springfield standout has played quarterback, tight end, defensive tackle and end for the Wildcats, but Tennessee is recruiting Taylor as a defensive end. Hoke secured a visit from the former Michigan commit last weekend for ‘Orange Carpet Day,’ and the blue-chip recruit was glad he made his first trip to Knoxville.
“They just kept talking about the orange so I wanted to see what the orange was all about,” Taylor told VolQuest.
“It was a great visit. I really enjoyed myself. I really did.”
Taylor, who holds more than 20 offers, speaks regularly with Hoke, and asked about the assistant’s propensity for ALL CAPS texts, Taylor immediately started laughing and said, “You already know. You already know. All caps. But yea, me and Coach Hoke’s relationship is great. That’s my dude.”
Taylor isn’t sure what position he wants to play in college. He said Tennessee likes “my size, my length and my speed for defense,” but other programs see the 6-foot-5, 240-pound prospect as a versatile tight end.
Does Taylor have a position preference?
“To be real with you, I don’t know. I’m going to have to find that out here sooner or later,” he said. “I’m going to fit the school that fits me the most and when I go there then they can do what they want with me. They can make me a defensive end. They can make me a tight end. It doesn’t matter. … I like how different coaches like me at all positions. It keeps my options open.”
Following Saturday’s visit, Taylor said he’d “definitely be back for sure” and moved Tennessee into his top schools that include Kentucky, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.
Taylor, who committed to Michigan more than a year ago before reopening his recruitment, has plans to visit several schools over the next month and could make a decision in August. If he's not ready, Taylor will wait until he's taken all his official visits, he said.