The top-rated defensive tackle in the 2021 class has Tennessee among his short list of favorites moving forward in his recruitment.
Leonard Taylor, a five-star defensive tackle who plays for Miami Palmetto in Miami, tweeted out a graphic featuring his top five teams on Sunday, and the Vols made the cut along with Auburn, Florida, LSU, and Miami.
— Leonard Taylor 🎯 ⁵⁶ (@56reasons_) May 24, 2020
According to 247Sports, Taylor is the No. 1 defensive tackle, No. 4 overall prospect, and No. 2 recruit in the state of Florida in the 2021 cycle. The composite rankings list him as a five-star as well, coming in at No. 27 overall.
The 6-foot-4, 255-pound lineman holds nearly two dozen scholarship offers, and he’s been a huge priority for the in-state Florida Gators for a while. But Tennessee ace recruiter Brian Niedermeyer is Taylor’s primary recruiter for the Vols, and Taylor has been on UT’s radar for a while as well.
Tennessee extended an offer to Taylor a year ago on May 9th. He’s yet to make it to Knoxville for a visit, but he’s visited both Florida and Miami several times in his recruitment.
Taylor isn’t the only prospect from Miami Palmetto who is being targeted by the Vols this cycle. Three-star athlete/all-purpose back Brashard Smith also plays at Miami Palmetto, and Smith included Tennessee in his group of top five teams last week.
On the field, Taylor is explosive and powerful. He uses his long arms to wreak havoc in the passing game, tipping passes at the line of scrimmage and reaching ball carriers that would be out of reach for most athletes. He has a big body and can move very well for his size, and he has room to add even more bulk once in college. He’s exceptionally dangerous against the run.
As a junior last season, Taylor totaled 68 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, and two interceptions. He was named to the All-Dade 8A-6A First Team this past season.
The Vols currently have commitments from 24 prospects in their 2021 class, a class that ranks No. 2 in the country and No. 1 in the SEC. Of those 24 commits, two recruits project as defensive tackles at the next level. Four-star KaTron Evans and three-star Isaac Washington are UT’s two DT commits at the moment.