It's Michigan now, and it'll be Michigan come National Signing Day, 2015. Garrett Taylor isn't going to change his mind, reconsider, weigh options, entertain choices or think about anything other than playing college football in Ann Arbor.
Book it. Bank on it. Mark it on your calendar. The 4-star cornerback is all-in for Team 136.
"It’s really important, and it’s definitely the biggest thing in my short life so far," Taylor said of his pledge. "The football part is very important, and the NFL is the goal for everyone who plays college football. But I’m also going to get a great degree from Michigan. ...I gave them my word and the coaches gave me theirs. I’m going to stick to my commitment."
Stanford, LSU, Miami (Fla.), Michigan State, Ohio State and Oklahoma, among many others, extended offers. But the No. 8-ranked corner of 2015 was taken by coach Brady Hoke's genuine nature.
"He had a pretty huge impact," Taylor said. "He’s really down to Earth. He was straightforward and honest during the recruiting process, and I appreciated that."
Hoke stresses education and living productive lives outside of the huddle, which is something that also struck Taylor, who plans to merge business and law courses into his classload.
"He wants them to be the best football players and young men that they can be," said the 6'1," 188-pound junior. "He wants to prepare them for life after football. That helped me a lot to decide during the recruiting process, making my ultimate decision."
Misc. Stats and Info
It's been some time since one of Taylor's 40s have been timed. But he reports running them steadily in the "mid 4.5-range." Also, he says that he's "put on some good weight in terms of muscle and [is] getting stronger."
Squat: 400 pounds/Broad jump: 10'2"/Vertical: 36 inches/Power clean: 286 pounds
If you haven't already, take a few minutes to view Taylor's game film. He's a vicious hitter. Let's just say that the guy at 1:06 probably wishes that he hadn't run across the middle. Focusing on a decisive game plan and executing at a high level is always the priority.
Now in the midst of the offseason, his schedule is dominated by track and field, DB drills and film sessions. He's determined to finish his prep days on a high note and enter college in peak condition--game-wise, mentally physically.
"I’m really excited just to see that we have so much coming in--and that I get to be a part of that is really exciting," Taylor said. "I want to compete with the best of the best, and that’s what it’s all about: Coming in an competing. Not only compete with them, but they’re going to help me learn.
I definitely want to come in and play. That’s everyone’s goal—you want to play as early as possible. I’m going to come in early and compete with Jabrill, Stribling and [Raymon] Taylor and stack myself up against them…I want to help contribute to a team that’s going to be competing for a Big Ten championship and national championship."
However, he still likes to crack jokes and lighten the mood. Strong friendships and unified locker rooms do wonders for team chemistry. Those types of teams win a few games.
"That’s the thing that’s really important," Taylor said. "It's so you can bond with your teammates and get closer with them. You spend a lot of time with them on the football field.
...[Relating to teammates] just comes naturally to me. I've been on varisty since freshman year, and I've gravitated toward the role of being one of those guys who can be loose on the field and kind of take over a leadership role and get to know the guys on my team—my goal is to be that at Michigan too."
Follow Maize 'n Brew's Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81