Roderick Taylor (Jackson, Miss. Callaway) holds offers from Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Mississippi State and Ole Miss, but I think the country’s top guard will stay in the Magnolia State and suit up for Hugh Freeze and become a Rebel.
Taylor, who took an unofficial visit to Oxford Apr. 5, would join Andy Bauer (St. Louis, Mo. DeSmet) as elite guard prospects to play next to offensive tackles Laremy Tunsil and Austin Golson who will be freshmen in 2013. Tunsil was the nation’s top tackle last year and the projected addition of Taylor the No. 1 guard, according to 247Sports and the top prospect in Mississippi, would give the Rebels a devastating offensive line.
The most important trait I look for in offensive linemen after height and weight is his feet, and Taylor has the best footwork of any lineman in this year’s class. Sure he can bulk up another 15-25 pounds, but his ability to get his feet in good position in both pass pro and run blocking lead me to believe Taylor has the potential to be an All-SEC if not All-American at the next level.
Alabama will make it close because of their dominance and track record of sending offensive linemen to the NFL and could sell him on developing into the next Chance Warmack in Tuscaloosa. Warmack was an All-American guard for the Crimson Tide and was the tenth selection in the 2013 draft. Mississippi State should not be discounted either after he attended the Bulldogs spring game and season opener in 2012 in addition to camping there last summer.
However, when Taylor makes his college decision, I fully expect him to be the latest big time recruit to pledge his allegiance to Freeze and the Rebels. His addition not only will excite the fan base but also the stable of running backs who will love the 6-foot-4, 305-pound beast paving the way for them.
More importantly, this message is being sent through the state that the top in-state talent will not be getting past Freeze and perennial powers like Alabama can no longer poach the top talent in Mississippi.