Land O'Lakes (Fla.) tight end Kent Taylor had visited Florida State and briefly stopped by the University of Florida. This past Saturday, he returned to Gainesville for the Gator Junior Day and got to spend an entire day on campus. He came away very impressed.
"As soon as I got there, I met their new tight ends coach (Derek Lewis)," Taylor said. "He came up to us, introduced himself, and then took me up to his office and talked to me for a little bit. He then took me to Coach (Will) Muschamp's office, we talked and that is when he offered me. After that we went down to an auditorium, then at lunch, and then we got to tour everything, including walking on the field which was pretty cool. Also went to the basketball game to watch Florida play Tennessee. It was just a really good experience."
He also spoke at length with Will Muschamp about where he fits into the future of the Gator offense.
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"Coach Muschamp and Coach Lewis told me they are really going to try to start using two tight ends," Taylor said. "Coach Muschamp talked about how he is a defensive-minded guy and said what I do is create mismatches through a lot of things. He talked about how they can't put a linebacker on me because he is too slow and can't cover me because I am a good route runner, but if they stick a safety or corner on me, I am too big and powerful for them to cover me. He said they would split me out, motion me across, more like an H-back."
"Another thing is Charlie Weis loves using tight ends," Taylor added.
As for the highlight of the time with the coaching staff, he said it was while they were in 'The Swamp' and learning about the gameday atmosphere at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
"The coolest part was they told us what it is like on Gameday, describing everything, it was really cool the way he described it," Taylor said. "They also showed us a video. It was really good."
During the visit Taylor was shown around by current Gator Trey Burton. He also had an opportunity to speak with Tampa native, offensive lineman Chaz Green. He said Green gave him some great insight.
"He was just telling me that he could have gone to a lot of places, but he is still glad he went to Florida," Taylor said. "He said he made a good decision going to Florida and that this place turns you into a man. He said it is a great place to play."
Taylor was joined in Gainesville by numerous members of his family. During their trip home to Land O'Lakes, he said it became clear just how difficult this whole recruiting process will ultimately be.
"They liked it," Taylor said of his family. "When we were in the car ride home, it was me, my dad, and my sister Kelly, and we were talking about it. My dad asked Kelly if she had to choose where I would go, Florida or Florida State, which would you choose and she had no idea. My mom, my dad, and me the same thing. It is just going to be a tough decision."
On Sunday, Taylor made his way down to Coral Gables, Fla. to check out the University of Miami.
"We got down to Miami a bit late," Taylor said. "We got there and went into an auditorium where the coaches were introducing themselves. As soon as they were done they all came over and shook my hand, introduced themselves, and then I got to talk with the tight ends coach, Brennan Carroll, Pete Carroll's son."
Coach Carroll made it abundantly clear how much he wants Taylor in the green and orange.
"He told me he wants me there," Taylor said. "He said I am the number one tight end on their board. He wants me to be a part of their team."
Al Golden also spent a great deal of time with Taylor and his family.
"Coach Golden is a great guy," Taylor said. "They have a really young coaching staff. Their offensive coordinator (Jedd Fisch) is 34 (years old). So I really like that. They have been around the NFL. They know how to win. So I was really impressed. Coach Golden was great, got to talk to him quite a bit, and he is the one that offered me. He came right up to me and talked to me a lot throughout the day."
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound tight end shared his thoughts about Miami, their history, their future, and how he may possibly fit into it all.
"The thing is, Miami hasn't been great in the past couple of years but they are still the 'U' and it is still Tight End U," Taylor said. "That is the same school that produced Kellen Winslow, Jeremy Shockey, and Greg Olsen. They all went there. So you have to remember that history. They aren't great right now, but do you want to be part of something special where if they do come back to be the 'U' again, do you want to be a part of that team and be part of the reason they came back."
"I have always dreamed about Miami since I was a little kid," Taylor added. "I was a huge Penn State fan and a huge Miami fan. I watched Ken Dorsey, Willie McGahee, Kellen Winslow all in college. Now to walk the same halls they did, that was a very, very cool experience."
The coaches at Miami are not the only ones trying to get him to make South Florida his home for his collegiate career.
"When I first got there, Gray Crow from Countryside, he came up to me and told me he committed," Taylor said. "He told me that I am next."
Taylor, who plants to trip to Notre Dame on February 26th, is already at double-digit offers but is waiting for a few more.
"I am still waiting on Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, and some others," Taylor said. "There are some schools I would still like to get offers from that haven't offered me yet. I am just sitting back and enjoying the process."
Following his first Junior Day visit, to Florida State, Taylor gave the Seminoles a slight lead for his services. With three visits to in-state schools now under his belt Taylor is preaching patience.
"I don't really have a top school," Taylor said. "It is just so early. I am thinking around June or July I will narrow it down to 10. At some point during the season narrow it to five, then three, and then make a decision."