Defensive tackle is an area needing some serious addressing on the recruiting front for the Texas Longhorns 2016 class, especially after the handful of recent in-state misses. But of those still uncommitted, McDonogh 35 (LA) DT Stephon Taylor is rising as a key target for Brick Haley and Texas, and some recent reports conflict on Taylor’s leading schools at this time.
Initially, NOLA.com reported Taylor had a top three of LSU, Auburn and Florida State, with Taylor himself stating those three programs as the frontrunners in his recruitment right now.
But only hours later, a conflicting report from the same website – NOLA.com – reported Texas was right alongside LSU in the four-star defensive tackle’s top two.
"Auburn's standing with Taylor may have slipped a bit of late, and it appears that Texas has moved into his top two, along with LSU, according to sources."
Obviously, it comes as a bit of a surprise and to see two conflicting reports from the same outlet in such short order, but it’s unlikely that Texas actually has surfaced as a top two option for Taylor after hearing Taylor himself name LSU, Auburn and FSU.
"My mom, she likes LSU. She wants me to go to LSU so bad. But my dad stays out in Auburn, so you know, it's right around in the mix," he said, "I think it's completely my decision and where I want to go...I guess Mom wants me closer."
Regardless of where the Longhorns ultimately stand on the 6’4", 292-pound Taylor’s list right now, it’s certain they’re facing an uphill battle. Mom wants him home at LSU. Dad wants him at Auburn, but as noted, Taylor said it would completely be his decision on where he attends college. In this case, the Horns’ will need to make a favorable and lasting impression next month, as 247Sports (VIP) reported Taylor will make an unofficial visit to Austin.
If Taylor lives up to his potential, he’ll go down as a product the Longhorns, or any other program will greatly regret failing to land. He’s got great size and athleticism – which 247Sports ranked as a 9 and 8 respectively in their skills rankings – and his ability to be patient and wait for the play to develop before attacking is especially worth noting.
It’s passes quickly, but check out 0:13 into the highlight video. Taylor isn’t trying to push the guard backwards and create penetration, but he makes great use of his hands, keeps his outside shoulder free and makes a play on the ball once it develops.
Taylor still needs to improve his overall strength and needs to show that he can become the dominating force on the interior on a much more consistent basis, as his motor runs hot and cold. But once he can learn to compete steadily and polish his raw size and skill, Taylor should become a force that will make the lives of numerous offensive linemen very difficult.
Taylor ranks as the No. 29 DT in the nation, per 247Sports