Staying close to home key for 5-Star Miami Football DT prospect Leonard Taylor

MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 14:.(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 14:.(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Five-star Miami football defensive tackle prospect Leonard Taylor stated staying close to home so his mother could attend his games led to his decision to narrow down his college choice to the Hurricanes or Florida ahead of his Thursday commitment announcement.

A day before five-star Miami football defensive tackle prospect Leonard Taylor announces whether he will commit to Florida or Miami he spoke to David Furones of the Sun-Sentinel about the process that has gone into narrowing his collegiate choice to the Gators or Hurricanes. Taylor is one of the highest-ranked uncommitted players.

Taylor is the 27th ranked player, third-ranked DT and sixth-ranked player in Florida in the class of 2021 according to the 247Sports composite rankings. All nine crystal balls on from 247Sports recruiting analysts to project Taylor to announce his commitment to the Miami football program on Thursday.

A commitment from Taylor would move the 2021 Miami recruiting class past North Carolina and Michigan into eighth nationally. Miami would have the second-ranked recruiting class in the ACC and first in the ACC Coastal Divison past the Tar Heels. Taylor’s Palmetto teammate cornerback Jason Marshall is expected to commit soon.

Taylor discussed the process of making the decision on where he will commit and why he narrowed the choices down to the Florida and Miami football program. Ultimately his mother being able to watch him play made the Gators and Hurricanes the best option for his collegiate destination.

"“The process is crazy. Every day it’s a coach calling you, sending you messages. They want you to come here. They want you to go there. It’s been tough. These two have been tough to come down to, but it kind of wasn’t because I wanted to stay close to home so my mom could either drive up to the games or come support me.So she wouldn’t have to go get a plane ticket and go out of this world to go to a game…Having a good connection with the D-line coach [Todd Stroud], [head coach] Manny Diaz. Talking to them, telling me what I’m going to play. I might be able to play as a freshman. Coach Stroud, he’s a great man.He looks out for me all the time. He’s real cool people. His energy, like if I were to go to UM, I would really enjoy him close to me….They just really try hard to keep all these kids that committed to stay down south…so they’ve really been Zooming a lot, making sure players and their families are straight.”"

The commitments from other star players in the 2021 class like five-star athlete James Williams who will play defense for the Hurricanes and the presence of his Palmetto teammates, four-star defensive tackle Savion Collins and three-star wide receiver Brashard Smith have played a major role in Taylor considering Miami.

The imminent commitment from Marshall to Miami according to multiple reports and the announcement from Collier scheduled for August 10 have Miami on the verge of commitments from the “Palmetto Five.” Miami already has five players committed from Miami Northwestern. Taylor discussed the impact with Furones.

"“With Savion and Brashard, they constantly tell me all the time, ‘Come to the U, bro. Let’s play together’…I’ll tell them, ‘I’ll think about it. I don’t know still.’ They’re on me hard about coming to the U. Corey and Jason,I talk to them, but I don’t really get into their whole school recruiting business because I feel like that’s their decision. I might give them a word, like, ‘Come here. Come there. You see what’s going on there. That would be a pretty cool experience that we all played in high school and then we all play in college.That would be really cool to watch all of us grow up together as one.”"

Once Taylor commits he plans to help his new school recruit but as stated above he will not be pushy to Collier and Marshall, allowing them to make their own decision. The ability for all five Palmetto stars to play together in high school and college, similar to the five players from Northwestern is something that appeals to Taylor.

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Collins talking to Taylor about playing at Miami is a good sign. Crystal balls for Collins have him flipping to Florida in spite of his nearly two-year commitment to the Hurricanes. More recently some of the information regarding where Collins will sign has flipped back towards Miami. The momentum for the 2021 class is building.