National website projects DT Leonard Taylor Miami football 2022 breakout player

Sep 30, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 30, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

Matt Howe of 247 Sports projects defensive tackle Leonard Taylor as the “College football: Predicting breakout players in ACC for 2022 season” for the Miami football program. Taylor was impactful for Miami during the 2021 season as a true freshman. In 2022, Taylor is expected to start at DT next to veteran Jared Harrison-Hunte.

Taylor and safety James Williams were the first five-star signees for the Miami football program since Lorenzo Lingard in 2018. With a new defensive staff in 2022, Taylor and Williams will be expected to anchor the Miami defense. Taylor made his collegiate debut against Central Connecticut State in September with three tackles.

The best game for Taylor was against Georgia Tech with four tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 0.5 sacks. Earlier in the season, Taylor had four tackles and two TFLs against North Carolina. Those types of performances will become more frequent this season with Taylor being more experienced and a starter.

Taylor was arguably the best freshman defensive lineman in college football in 2021. Howe highlights the numbers Taylor recorded last season compared to other freshmen DL nationally. Taylor will have an excellent chance to be first-team all ACC following the 2022 season. Howe profiled Taylor.

"MIAMI – LEONARD TAYLOR, DT“A true freshman in 2021, Taylor appeared in six games and quickly reminded people why he was one of the top recruits in last year’s cycle. Taylor totaled 21 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and one pass breakup.Of all the true freshman defensive tackles in the country in 2021, Taylor totaled the most tackles for loss. Of all the true freshman defensive tackles that played at least 50 defensive snaps this season, Taylor graded out with the best run defense grade at a 74.5 grade.Taylor is a former 247Sports Composite five-star recruit out of Miami (Fla.) Miami Palmetto. He was also the No. 11-ranked overall player and the No. 4-ranked defensive lineman in the Class of 2021.247Sports’ Southeast Recruiting Analyst Andrew Ivins projected Taylor as a first-round NFL draft pick at the time of his recruitment, and gave him a pro comparison to Sheldon Richardson.”"

Harrison-Hunte and Taylor should provide Miami with one of the most athletic and productive DT tandems in college football in 2022. Taylor is one of four ACC DL Howe projects to have breakout seasons. The other three are Kwan Williams of Boston College, Dewayne Carter of Duke and Tyjuan Garbutt of Virginia Tech.

Next. Miami roster 15th nationally by average recruiting class ranking since 2018. dark

If Taylor produces at the same rate he did in limited playing time in 2021, the Miami defense will improve with him on the field far more often. Taylor is as talented as any player in college football as Howe illustrated above. The Miami football team needs Taylor to produce at a high level to compete for an ACC Coastal Division title.