JACKSON, Miss. – Roderick Taylor, a 6-3, 323-pound offensive lineman from Jackson Callaway, made it official at the Callaway field house Wednesday afternoon when he committed to Ole Miss over Alabama.
Surrounded by his teammates, Taylor, one of the more sought-after prospects in the country, casually picked up the microphone and announced for the Rebels. Just like that, his recruitment was over.
“It felt like home,” Taylor said of Ole Miss. “I was very comfortable with the surroundings. I wanted to stay in state. I’ve got much love for the state of Mississippi. It feels good that it’s over.”
Taylor, a four-star prospect with FOXSportsNEXT, is considered the top offensive line prospect in the state of Mississippi and one of the top offensive line prospects in the country.
At The Opening last week, FOXSportsNEXT recruiting analysts summed up Taylor:
“Mammoth guard prospect who was the only offensive linemen to top a 100 Sparq rating with a 104.4. He also tied with the top overall 40-yard dash for an OL with a 5.22. Performed well in drills and one-on-ones. Not only strong, but athletic. A great combo. High interest in Alabama and Mississippi.”
Taylor also has a No. 4 national ranking among all offensive guards according to FOXSportsNEXT. High cotton for the affable “giant.”
“It helped that they’re coming to Ole Miss,” Taylor said. “The coaches, players and facilities are top notch. I’m particularly close to (Ole Miss head) Coach (Hugh) Freeze because he’s real.
“I have a great relationship with (offensive line) Coach (Matt) Luke, too. He’s a great, hands-on teacher. I feel like I can learn a lot playing under him, and the offense is suited for me. I feel like I can play tackle or guard, but I prefer guard.”
In addition, Taylor will be the third offensive lineman to sign from Callaway HS in the past three years, joining current Rebels Aaron Morris and Justin Bell.
“He’s a great kid. He likes to have fun, but when the lights come on, he’s dead serious,” Callaway offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Otis Riddley said. “In the weight room, he’s strong enough to play immediately on the next level. Yesterday, he power cleaned 275 pounds five times. His feet are more like a defensive lineman than an offensive lineman. Frankly, I think he could play defensive tackle in college.
“Bottom line is right now he’s better than Aaron Morris and Justin Bell were at this point in his career. In my opinion, there’s no high school offensive lineman in the country that comes close athletically. Also, he’s a real smart kid when it comes to Xs and Os. He picks stuff up quickly.”
When asked if his commitment was solid, if his recruitment was over, Taylor cracked a smile.
“I am definitely done.” — Chuck Rounsaville, Publisher, OMSpirit.com