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UK RB Taylor Released To Transfer

running-for-exit-signKentucky running back Justin Taylor has been granted his release by new coach Mark Stoops and is planning a transfer out of the Wildcat program.  Rumors suggest the redshirt freshman may land at South Carolina State.

You might remember Taylor for his recruitment.  Initially committed to sign with Alabama in February of 2012, Taylor injured his knee playing high school basketball in the fall/winter of 2011.  Nick Saban asked him to greyshirt.  At first, the Atlanta native was upset.  Then he spoke with Bama’s coaches and decided to do it.  But he changed his mind once more and inked with Kentucky instead.

Now he’s apparently on the move to the Palmetto State.  Interestingly, he is the first player to ask for his release since Stoops took over in Lexington.  When most new coaches come in, a few old players go out.  As of today, Taylor is the only player heading out.

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Alabama Football: Karma And The Price Of Omelettes

Justin Taylor and Darius Philon.  Both were commits to Alabama.  Taylor had been committed to the Tide for year.  Philon had stopped taking visits after making his pledge to Bama.

And both were told in the final days leading up to signing day that Nick Saban would only take them on if they waited a full year to enroll at Alabama in 2013.

Now you can say the Crimson Tide lived up to the letter of the SEC’s new soft 25-man signing cap law.  It did.  But that won’t mask the stink of these two players’ situations.

Taylor signed with Kentucky and admitted that he felt he’d been wronged.  His high school coach — former NFL running back Stanley Pritchett who’s seen recruiting from every angle — wasn’t happy with Alabama’s actions.

Philon — after a painful to watch signing day press conference — inked with Arkansas.  He’s never even been on Arkansas’ campus.

Is Alabama alone in this kind of activity?  No.  It’s recruiting.  It’s a dirty business known for broken promises.  Commitments from players and schools are steel strong… right up until a better player or a better school comes along.

But Saban and Alabama certainly get more ink than most when it comes to their methods of roster management.  Talk of a signing cap was tied to UA.  Chatter about unwarranted medical hardships once swirled around Bama.  And now the buzz is focused on Saban for backpedaling from committed prospects like an All-America corner in an SEC title game.

Is it enough to create some bad vibes for the Alabama program?  Jeff Sentell of The Birmingham News suggests as much:


“If there’s such a thing as football karma, maybe Taylor uses this diss to spark Kentucky to an Alabama upset?  Maybe Philon does the same for Arkansas?  What if those losses kept Alabama from both the SEC and BCS title games?  That’s one way that troubled look on Philon’s face on signing day could come back to haunt Alabama’s bottom line.”

That’s not likely to happen.  Instead, Saban’s juggernaut Tide will continue to roll right along.  And top recruits will continue to commit to Alabama believing that what happened to Taylor and Philon could never happen to their superstar selves.

But Tide fans are going to have to learn to live with all this negative talk until Bama changes its ways.  That’s got to be maddeningly tiresome.  Whether UA fans will admit it or not.

The old saying goes: To make an omelette you have to break a few eggs.  Well, there’s a price to pay for the eggs.  There’s a cost.

And the cost is headshakes and tsk-tsks from the rest of the sporting world everytime another teenager says he was left at the altar or kicked to the curb by Saban.  Nothing’s free.  Not even well-made omelettes.

(Story corrected… Justin Taylor — who we’ve referenced several times here — is the Alabama commit who wound up signing with Kentucky.  Jason Taylor was a future Hall of Fame defensive end for the Miami Dolphins.  And I am the guy who has to have extra proof-reading time for my morning posts.)

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RB Taylor Signs With UK, Not Bama

Atlanta running back Justin Taylor has inked scholarship papers with the Kentucky Wildcats.  Taylor made national news recently when Alabama’s Nick Saban told him that the school would no longer have room for him as an immediate signee, despite the fact that Bama had held Taylor’s commitment for nearly a year.

Taylor told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution two weeks ago that Saban wanted him to grayshirt and become a part of the Tide’s 2013 class.  Taylor waffled back and forth before deciding to take the bird in hand UK was offering.

Taylor is recovering from a torn ACL he suffered last September.

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Nick Saban Promises To ‘Stand By His Word’ (This Time)

Running back Justin Taylor from North Atlanta High School is still trying to decide where he will spend the fall of 2012.

The Alabama commit received a visit on Tuesday from coach Nick Saban, who recently told Taylor he no longer had a scholarship available for 2012. Instead, Saban has asked Taylor to wait to enroll in school next January.

Taylor is undecided, although he remains committed to Alabama. His options include attending a junior college this fall as a part-time student or enrolling in a prep school to play football this fall. But Taylor has qualified academically so attending a prep school isn’t necessary.

There’s a good chance Taylor accepts Saban’s offer to wait to join Alabama in 2013. If that happens, Saban better have a scholarship ready, according to Stanley Pritchett, Taylor’s coach and legal guardian.

“Coach Saban made it clear he is going to stand by his word,” Pritchett told the AJC. “As Justin’s guardian, I can only go by a man’s word. I’m going to hold Coach Saban to those words. There’s going to be a problem if he doesn’t stick by his word (and sign Taylor in 2013).”

I’ve made my thoughts clear on this situation. Hopefully things work out well for Taylor no matter what decision he makes for his future.

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Yeldon Switches Commitment From Tigers To Tide

Running back T.J. Yeldon from Daphne (Ala.) High School made big news during the weekend when he switched his commitment from Auburn to Alabama.

Yeldon announced the change by releasing a statement.

“Over the last few weeks, I’ve really put a lot of time and thought into where I want to go to school and continue my football career,” Yeldon said in the statement. “I am blessed to be in a situation where I have several great opportunities and I appreciate everyone involved who has helped me get to this point.

“I want to make an announcement so I can put this behind me and get to work on the things I need to do to prepare for college both athletically and academically. I am going to enroll at the University of Alabama in January.

“I have a lot of respect for Auburn, the coaches, and all of the people there, but at the end of the day I feel like the University of Alabama is the best situation for me and my family. I am 100 percent confident with my final decision. I feel great about it and I’m excited to get started.”

Alabama should be excited to have Yeldon, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 1 all-purpose running back by 247Sports.com. His commitment gives Alabama the No. 1 ranking in the 247Sports team rankings for the class of 2012.

Alabama’s 2012 class is currently ranked No. 2 by Rivals.com and No. 3 by Scout.com, respectively.

What’s the impact of Yeldon’s decision to change his commitment? Tim Watts of BamaOnline.com weighs in.

Yeldon is the third running back commitment for Alabama’s 2012 class, joining Kenyan Drake from Powder Springs, Ga., and Justin Taylor from Atlanta.

Jovon Robinson from Memphis, Tenn., is the lone running back commitment to Auburn’s 2012 class.

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Alabama Lands Commitment No. 9 For 2012

Alabama has received a commitment from running back Justin Taylor from Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta.

Taylor committed to the Crimson Tide immediately after receiving a scholarship offer from Alabama coach Nick Saban on Monday morning.

“At the beginning of my ninth-grade season I would always watch Alabama,” Taylor said, according to al.com. “I used to think that could be my No. 1 school, and it’s been my No. 1 school. When I heard they were interested in me that was an advantage for them. When I got the offer I committed.”

Taylor is Alabama’s ninth commitment for the class of 2012. He’s the first running back to commit to the Crimson Tide.

Alabama is also hoping to land highly-touted tailback Barry Sanders Jr. from Oklahoma City. The recruitment of Sanders has been scrutinized recently, although that shouldn’t be an obstacle in the Crimson Tide’s recruitment of Sanders.

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