Besting Kentucky for a prospect rarely moved the needle for a nationally prominent football program such as Virginia Tech. But given first-year coach Mark Stoops’ recent recruiting gets, offensive tackle Brady Taylor’s commitment to the Hokies becomes far more notable.
A 6-foot-5, 275-pound rising senior at Bishop Ready in Columbus, Ohio, Taylor pledged to Tech on Monday. His other finalist was Kentucky, and he also had scholarship offers from West Virginia and Pittsburgh, according to Rivals.com.
Like many, Taylor revealed his decision on Twitter. His tweet: “#HokieNation”
Asked Sunday on Twitter about each school’s assets, Taylor replied: “I like that VT wins A LOT, but it is a bit farther not much. I like that UK is in the SEC, but it is also tough to win.”
Recruiting services such as Rivals are touting Kentucky’s 2014 class as top-20 material. The Wildcats went 2-10, 0-8 in the Southeastern Conference, last season, prompting the dismissal of Joker Phillips and hiring of Stoops, previously Florida State’s defensive coordinator.
Stoops’ older bother Bob is Oklahoma’s head coach.
Taylor is the Hokies’ 15th commitment and their fifth offensive lineman in the class. Coincidentally, all are from out of state. The others are Eric Gallo of Holland, Pa., Billy Ray Mitchell from Paramus, N.J., Cole Pettit of Deshler, Ohio and Tyrell Smith from Ramsey, N.J.
As the numbers indicate, offensive line is clearly a position of need for Tech. The Hokies averaged a meager 3.7 yards per rush last season, far worse than the previous three years of 4.4, 4.9 and 4.7, and were especially anemic in short yardage.
Reporters who chronicle recruiting closely had Taylor all but signed with Kentucky. He told Rivals that he changed his mind several times before settling on Tech at 11 a.m., Monday.
“It was really everything I ever wanted in a school,” Taylor told Rivals about Tech. “It is in a small football town in Blacksburg, and the fans really adore their team. They win a lot of games and play in BCS bowls, and that's what you dream about as a kid.”
The Hokies expect to hear from another target Saturday. Greg Stroman, a receiver at Stonewall Jackson High in Manassas, will chose from among Tech, Virginia and Duke, according to TechSideline.com
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