Alontae Taylor is currently the Vols’ second highest-rated commit in their 2018 class according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. Taylor is a four-star athlete out of Manchester, TN, and only five-star offensive tackle Cade Mays is rated higher currently in the Vols’ group of commits in the 2018 class.
Taylor is ranked as the No. 122 overall player in the nation according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, and he’s listed as an athlete because he plays just about every offensive skill position possible for Coffee County Central High School. Taylor projects as a wide receiver in college, but that’s actually where he’s spent the least amount of time in high school so far.
In high school, the best athlete, regardless of where they project best at the next level, will often play quarterback if a team doesn’t have a defined quarterback situation. And that’s been the case for Taylor for the most part. In his three years at Coffee County Central, Taylor has completed 106 of his 212 pass attempts for 1,355 yards, seven touchdowns, and seven interceptions according to Max Preps. He’s also run the ball 563 times for 4,591 yards and 53 touchdowns thus far in his high school career.
And though Taylor projects as a wide receiver for the Vols, he’s only caught 22 passes for 223 yards and a touchdown in the last two seasons of high school. And that’s why one national recruiting analyst wants to see more from Taylor this upcoming weekend at Nike’s The Opening.
Barton Simmons, the director of scouting for 247Sports, listed Taylor in his “Five Players with Questions to Answer” portion of his preview of The Opening this weekend. The Opening is an annual event that gathers together some of the most highly-rated recruits across the country to be evaluated and scored by recruiting analysts. Two Vol commits, Taylor and Cade Mays, will be in attendance this weekend. And Simmons wants to see more of the athletic Taylor play the position he’s projected to in college.
“Taylor is a twitched up, sudden athlete that has got a lot of upside,” Simmons writes. “As a high school quarterback, though, he’s not very polished at the wide receiver position. This week will be a great test to see how he catches the ball, tracks the ball in the air and separates as a route-runner.
“If he can show improvement in those areas, the Tennessee commit could see his ranking rise.”
Taylor is already one of the highest-rated athletes in the 2018 class, but proving that he can cut it as a receiver will be huge for his ranking. Not only that, but it will show Tennessee that they don’t have to worry as much about developing him and molding him as a freshman when he comes in for the 2018 season.
Vol fans, much like Simmons, eagerly await Taylor’s performance at The Opening. They know Taylor is athletic, but they want to see that athleticism used specifically at receiver. And they hope Taylor can show that this weekend.