Rod Taylor (Jackson, Miss. Callaway) continues the pipeline from Callaway to Ole Miss as the No. 1 guard in the country committed to the Rebels becoming the third member from the Chargers to commit to the the school this year.
Taylor committed to the Rebels over Alabama who was so enamored with him, the Crimson Tide offered the 6-foot-4, 305-pound recruit a scholarship before his sophomore year. This offer speaks volumes about the skill level of the four-star guard, but ultimately he couldn’t turn down his in-state program and the state’s top recruit is staying home.
Last month I wrote that Ole Miss was the clear favorite to secure his commitment, and Taylor even went as far to say they were his leader. Taylor joins high school teammates Dayall Harris and Ronald Walker for the 2014 class in what can only be described as an absolute homerun for Ole Miss. Taylor’s high school coach Darryl Jones says Taylor is the most athletic offensive lineman in the country telling Mike Herndon:
“He’s beyond his years. He needs to be a little bit more of a technician, but as far as raw natural ability, he’s exceptional.”
Rebels running backs coach and assistant coach Derrick Nix was the primary recruiter for Taylor and the committed Callaway trio. Offensive linemen Aaron Morris and Justin Bell are fellow Callaway alums on the roster that could grow to six with three-star defensive tackle Breeland Speaks, who is considered an Ole Miss lean.
When Neal McCready asked Callaway head coach Darryl Jones about the possibility of the Callaway quartet playing together in Oxford he said, “I have a feeling they’ll probably be together.”
Taylor is agile enough to get to the second level and block linebackers and quick enough to get downfield and seal off the weakside. Adding to the full repertoire of his game is his strength at the point of attack and can drive defensive tackles back in the run game and pass protect as well as a left tackle.
The projected starting offensive line this year features four seniors so Taylor will have an opportunity to earn a starting job as a true freshman. The 2014 offensive line for the Rebels will be stocked with elite recruits and by 2015 easily could be one of the top units in the SEC, if not the country.
The 2014 starting line for Ole Miss will lack experience, but they certainly don’t lack in talent and potential. In addition to Taylor, the Rebels feature fellow 2014 four-star recruit Andy Bauer (St. Louis, Mo. DeSmet) who could play guard, tackle or center in college and 2013’s No. 1 tackle Laremy Tunsil and No. 3 tackle Austin Golson.
Taylor recently competed at The Opening where he was one of the top offensive linemen in attendance and has been selected to play in the Under Armour game and was invited to the U.S. Army All-American game.
Ole Miss can beat Alabama on the recruiting trail with Hugh Freeze and his staff doing impressive work, and if this success continues it may not be long before they pull off a win over Alabama on the gridiron. The addition of Taylor brings them one step closer to that goal which looked like a pipe dream before the arrival of Freeze.