LSU had to have linebackers in its last recruiting class.
It got a few—including a Peach State sensation who believes he has a real shot at seeing the field for significant snaps this fall.
The Tigers got great news on National Signing Day when four-star linebacker Tyler Taylor, out of Sugar Hill, Georgia, signed to play for Coach Ed Orgeron.
Taylor stands 6-foot, 3-inches and weighs 220 pounds—a consensus four-star prospect throughout all the recruiting websites.
He chose LSU after collecting offers from literally a who’s who of college football powerhouses – a list which included Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Miami, Michigan State and Oklahoma.
At his signing day news conference, Orgeron said getting Taylor was huge—a must get for a thin LSU linebacker corps that’s looking to replace Duke Riley and Kendall Beckwith this fall.
“There was no question we had to have guys that can come in and play early (at linebacker),” Orgeron said. “All these guys will be with us in June. … We think they will physical be ready to go. We have to get them mentally ready to go, too. … We’re excited.”
In Taylor, LSU is getting one heck of a linebacker—a guy who is one of the best at his craft among high school players at the position.
He played for Lanier High School in Georgia and was an instant-impact player for the team throughout his career with the team.
For his prep career, Taylor recorded 239 tackles.
He was a late bloomer who didn’t start until his junior season. In his final two seasons, he made 185 tackles, several for a loss.
He also recorded 11 sacks and intercepted four passes.
As a receiver, Taylor was a beast, as well, snagging two touchdown passes with 190 all-purpose yards.
“He does a little bit of everything for us,” Lanier High School football coach Korey Mobbs said during Taylor’s recruitment. “He’s a good kid. He works hard. He has the right attitude and the right mindset. He’s getting attention from everywhere, but he deserves it. He goes about his business the right way.”
Taylor’s recruitment started to soar in the back-end of his prep career and colleges from all around the country ascended to Georgia to try and win his services.
But LSU—and especially Orgeron—always had a special place in Taylor’s heart.
At his National Signing Day news conference, he said it was something about LSU that felt right, and a lot of it had to do with the warmth and passion of the Tigers’ coach.
He also revealed on signing day that he picked LSU over Auburn and Oklahoma, his other two finalists.
“It feels like home,” Taylor said. “It’s a family-like feel. It’s something that just feels good and feels right and I can’t wait to get there, get to work and get started. The coaches there had such a great vibe around them and Coach O is great. He made it really clear how badly LSU wanted me to be a part of their team and it just felt good to hear that from a coach, you know? They’re a great school and I’m so proud to be a Tiger.”
He may be a Tiger who’s active early in his career, too.
Because of the departures at linebacker, Orgeron has said many times throughout the offseason that all of LSU’s incoming players will have a chance to work their way into the lineup throughout summer camp leading into the fall.
Taylor said on Signing Day that he understands that LSU is a great school and that it’s hard to play right away. But he said that some of the allure that made him want to be a Tiger was the idea that he could see snaps as a true freshman—in any capacity.
“It can be linebacker. It can be special teams. Anywhere on the field that I’m needed, I’m ready to go to work,” Taylor said. “I want to help our team and I plan to be ready to do so in any way possible.”
Orgeron thinks Taylor will like playing for LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, too.
Multiple times since becoming LSU’s full-time head coach, Orgeron has called Aranda a defensive genius—the top coordinator in college football. LSU administration showed their support, as well, when they gave Aranda a sizable raise in the offseason to keep him in Baton Rouge.
One of the defensive coach’s specialties throughout his career has been developing and mentoring young linebackers, turning them into standout players.
This past season, Tiger fans saw that first-hand when Riley emerged out of nowhere to become LSU’s team MVP.
Orgeron said he expects similar things to happen for Taylor and the other LSU signees.
“He’s the best in the country at developing players at that position,” Orgeron said.
Taylor thinks so, too, adding that he will soak in Aranda’s knowledge and try and carry it onto the field in his quest to become the next great LSU defender.
“I just want to make everyone proud,” Taylor said. “My family, my friends. All the great LSU fans. I want to get stronger and faster and listen to my coaches and do the best I can.”