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Jeff Sentell/DawgNation
Alontae Taylor is a major target for UGA as it closes in on its 2018 class.

Why the final 5 for 4-star ATH Alontae Taylor still includes UGA

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. The play sheet for Friday calls for a checkup on the latest with 4-star ATH Alontae Taylor. “Tae” was once one of Tennessee’s prized commits. 

Alontae Taylor took his official visit to Georgia for the Kentucky game. That went swimmingly.

To be clear, that’s an assumption. Taylor has not done any media since that trip. But that morsel of analysis is fueled by a few factors:

  • DawgNation had a good read on where things stood with UGA prior to the visit. 
  • Taylor said he “couldn’t freaking wait” for that trip to Athens.
  • He has adorned his Twitter account with pro-UGA images since that trip.
  • He’s also opted out of the interview process. This is the same nice guy who fulfilled every interview request over the last few weeks when he was pondering de-committing from Tennessee during the lead-in to his Georgia trip.

There’s also a news peg that makes a Taylor summation worthwhile today.

He announced a new top 5 Thursday night that includes an LSU-for-Alabama swap, the return of the Volunteers, and the same mainstays in Georgia, Louisville and Wake Forest. Georgia Tech is no longer among his final group.


A little more insight into Alontae Taylor’s decision

Alontae Taylor-UGA recruiting
UGA support staffer Jay Valai has played a key role in Alontae Taylor’s recruitment.  Taylor brings up Valai’s name a lot. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

When we spoke a few hours before that official visit, Taylor said he felt he might know where he was going after his official to Alabama and before a trip to Louisville.

Taylor is no longer considering Alabama.

At that time, I made sure to store away a few thoughts to add to a post-visit recap.

It serves the reader better that way. We can never tell when that zipped-up lip emoji is going to pop up with an elite prospect.

Jay Valai, a UGA support staffer, is playing a key role. Taylor brings up his name a lot. Receivers coach James Coley also continues to recruit very well for his room with Taylor.

Taylor has been accepted by the players. Sophomore Mecole Hardman Jr. breezed by where he was standing during the pregame against Kentucky. That was well received. Lydia Gibbs, the sister of UGA freshman defensive back DeAngelo Gibbs, served as his host for the Kentucky game.

The staff did a good job of answering his biggest questions prior to that visit.

“Mecole is really the only punt returner I know of right now,” Taylor said the evening before his official visit took place. “So one of my questions was that I was kind of worried about playing time. I mean, I’m not asking to come to a school and start. I would rather earn everything than have it given to me.

Alontae Taylor-UGA recruiting
4-star UGA target Alontae Taylor was clearly having a good time on his UGA official visit. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

“Because if it is given to me then I don’t want it. I want to earn everything at the university that I pick. So if I come in and work my tail off then I will have a chance of playing time. So I could see myself at Georgia and get that early playing time being on special teams.”

He liked that pitch as an athlete. Taylor rates as the nation’s No. 29 receiver but is also slotted as the No. 149 overall prospect on the 247Sports composite.

“Coming out as an athlete I could play on offense and defense,” he said. “So there’s a chance I could play on both sides of the ball and then special teams at Georgia.”

It basically left just two questions for the official.

  • Taylor does plan to enroll in January. He wanted to seek out Kirby Smart for a deadline to make his choice if he wanted to be a part of the 2018 class at UGA.
  • The only other question was going to be answered by how he felt at Georgia. How did that official go? Did he feel like he was at home?

The big picture with Alontae Taylor

Alabama is out. LSU is in. Louisville is still in. Why?

Alontae Taylor-UGA recruiting
Alontae Taylor sounds as if he still wants to play in the SEC. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Let’s start with a dream that is now steeped in reality. Taylor wanted to be a dual-threat quarterback and the Louisville pitch fuels that.

“My mind changes about a lot of things,” Taylor said. “I talked to my parents about it. My dream has always been to play quarterback. I can look at that, but I also have to look at my long-term dream. That’s to make it to the NFL to help my family out and to help my community. I want to give back to kids and to give kids hope.”

He wonders about the position fit.

“Do I really think I’m going to be a quarterback in the NFL?” Taylor said. “I have to ask myself that. My answer to that is no. I have to find that place that propels me for my NFL future, too.”

He knows that his NFL chances will include a chance to play at cornerback, receiver or safety. He said he feels the speed of the game in the SEC would prepare him the best for the NFL.

“At Georgia, I would get to play both sides of the ball in the SEC,” Taylor said prior to his official visit. “You can’t beat that. You just can’t beat that.”

Taylor thanked Coffee County coach Ryan Sulkowski for his help with this process. It seems his options are always fluid, and Sulkowski has helped him figure out what is real and what is not real.

“As far as these schools jumping in and out and telling me things, my coach has been very good at helping me with my thought process,” Taylor said.

What else does DawgNation need to know?

I’d suggest this report here. It reflects his love for his grandmother. She passed away when he was in elementary school.

“I am a hard-working kid,” Taylor said. “I’m going to give it my all regardless of what it is with the situation. Bad. Good. Great. I care a lot about this game. I have a lot of passion for this game and I’m just a very positive person.”


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He already knows 2018 UGA commits James Cook, Justin Fields, Kearis Jackson and Elijah Moore.

“I don’t know too many of the guys at Georgia, but the ones I do know we maybe do not have a close relationship but we do have some type of friendship,” Taylor said.

But he has more common ground with Fields. Their squad won the 7-on-7 title at The Opening over the summer. They developed a rapport while making plays for that Mach Speed team.

“I think about this all the time,” he said. “I want to play with Justin Fields — to have that headline where it is like ‘Justin Fields to Alontae Taylor’ and they throw a flashback to The Opening where he threw me a 55-yard touchdown pass.

“Justin Fields is a great quarterback, but off to the side of that he is a great person,” Taylor said. “I feel like Fields and I would be a great connection in the UGA offense.”

Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed faster than Georgia All-America candidate Roquan Smith can find the football after the snap.

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