BLOG — Callaway’s Roderick Taylor wanted to represent for Mississippi and the Ole Miss Rebels are better for that decision.
The nation’s top-ranked offensive guard picked the Rebels over the defending BCS champion Alabama Crimson Tide in a press conference announcement held at the CHS locker room Wednesday afternoon. The 6-foot-4, 320-pound Taylor could have practically gone to any school in the nation he wanted but he told the media, with his coaches, family and teammates looking on, that his desire was to play at Ole Miss and help make an in-state school better.
“I would like to commit to Ole Miss,” Taylor said at the start of his press conference. “I felt at home and comfortable down there. I want to stay there because I have much love for my state.”
Taylor later added why it was the best fit: “I like the coaches, the players and the facilities and the chemistry at Ole Miss.”
While Taylor said it was hard to say no to Alabama coach Nick Saban, he admitted he didn’t feel as much at home there. He added he hadn’t called Saban to tell him of his decision.
“I made the decision three days ago. I talked it over with my mom. It feels good (to get the decision over with). I don’t have to do as much worrying,” said Taylor, who is the third Charger that has verbally pledged to Ole Miss for the 2014 class. “It helped me a lot (having his teammates committed). I felt like I have a little family down there. That helped me a lot.”
Taylor’s offensive line coach at Callaway, Otis Riddley, feels like Taylor has all the tools to be a great offensive lineman in the future. He added that he felt Taylor was further ahead as a lineman than two current Rebels, Aaron Morris and Justin Bell.
“He’s better than Aaron and Justin’s at this point in their career. I think from an athletic standpoint, there’s not an offensive lineman in the country that even comes close. You talk about controlling the boards in the state championship basketball game and he comes out the next week and does well in a one-on-one series in Birmingham. The kid, he has some juice,” said Riddley, who gave Taylor a chance to play as a freshman. “In the weight room he’s strong enough to do it. I’ve seen SEC football a long time, I know what he’s capable of doing and you’re talking about athleticism that’s only rivaled by maybe d-linemen. He could really go play d-line in the SEC and really be fine. I think he’s capable, from Day 1, to come in and play right away in the SEC and handle his business.”
For more on Taylor, see Thursday’s Sports section. (July 10, 2013)