Virginia Tech got a 2014 commitment Monday from Columbus, Ohio, offensive tackle Brady Taylor. Taylor is the fifth lineman to commit to the Hokies in 2014. All five are from out of state.
“I talked to them a lot,” Taylor said of his classmates. “They’re all really good kids. I’ve gotten to know them well. … It’s pretty awesome. Because even if nothing works out and we get to our fifth year, we’re eventually going to play together. That’s pretty special to have four other kids your age to play with.”
It’s the biggest offensive line recruiting class the Hokies have had since 2007, when Tech signed five players who would eventually become linemen – Blake DeChristopher, Jaymes Brooks, Ibn Latif, Greg Nosal and Andrew Lanier – four of whom stuck and became starters during their careers.
That group included two tight ends who would transition to the line in college. This year’s group of five — which includes Eric Gallo (Holland, Pa.), Billy Ray Mitchell (Paramus, N.J.), Tyrell Smith (Ramsey, N.J.) and Colt Pettit (Deshler, Ohio) — all fit a similar mold of athletic linemen who should add size.
The 6-foot-5, 275-pound Taylor is a three-star recruit by both 247 Sports and Rivals. 247 Sports ranks him as the No. 36 offensive tackle nationally, while Rivals has him 57th. He plays left tackle and defensive end in high school and has been told he’ll likely be a left tackle in college.
His strength? Athleticism. He described himself as more of a basketball player early in his career. He played linebacker in middle school, then receiver and tight end when he initially got to high school.
But his coach at Bishop Ready High in Columbus needed a lineman. Taylor, who had the height even back then, transitioned, even though he weighed only a little more than 200 pounds. He added weight but kept his ability to move.
“It helps going against defensive ends who are really athletic these days,” he said. “Just because I’m a tall guy, I need to work on staying low in college. I stay pretty low, but I definitely want to get lower, because that’s kind of how the college game is. The lower man wins.”
Taylor picked Virginia Tech after narrowing the field to the Hokies and Kentucky. The Wildcats, who had long been on his radar and have been on a recruiting tear under first-year coach Mark Stoops, figured to be the favorites, but Taylor said his bond with Grimes helped push things in the Hokies’ favor.
“We just kind of hit it off,” Taylor said. “He’s a great guy and we’re a lot alike. And I just told my parents that I was excited about just how good of a program it is. They’re always in bowl games, in the top 25. … That’s really all you could ever ask for.”
Taylor is Virginia Tech’s 15th commitment for 2014. Here is an updated list:
- WR Jaylen Bradshaw, 6-0, 175, Chesapeake (Oscar Smith)
- TE Xavier Burke, 6-3, 247, Lawrenceville (Brunswick)
- DB Terrell Edmunds, 6-1, 180, Danville (Dan River)
- QB Andrew Ford, 6-3, 180, Camp Hill, Pa. (Cedar Cliff)
- OL Eric Gallo, 6-2, 275, Holland, Pa. (Council Rock South)
- DB Javon Harrison, 6-2, 190, Lakeland, Fla. (Kathleen)
- ATH Travon McMillian, 6-0, 196, Woodbridge (C.D. Hylton)
- DE Vincent Mihota, 6-4, 240, Fredericksburg (Massaponax)
- OL Billy Ray Mitchell, 6-3, 288, Paramus, N.J. (Paramus Catholic)
- DB Shawn Payne, 6-2, 180, Chesterfield (L.C. Bird)
- OL Colt Pettit, 6-4, 260, Deshler, Ohio (Patrick Henry)
- DB C.J. Reavis, 6-0, 199, Chester (Thomas Dale)
- OL Tyrell Smith, 6-5, 250, Ramsey, N.J. (Don Bosco Prep)
- OT Brady Taylor, 6-5, 275, Columbus, Ohio (Bishop Ready)
- RB Marshawn Williams, 5-11, 200, Hampton (Hampton)