High school football players from all over the country will finalize their college plans during next Wednesday’s National Signing Day, making for a ballyhooed and busy 24 hours for players, their families, coaches and fans.
But the week leading up to the annual high school football holiday often proves just as eventful. Two local players found this out over the weekend, as Gonzaga’s Miles Taylor and Carroll’s Cory Jones had a change of heart following an official visit and switched their commitments to a new school.
Taylor, who originally committed to Georgia Tech last March, decided to choose Iowa instead, while Jones flipped his choice from Toledo to Virginia, capping a whirlwind season that marked the defensive lineman’s first year of varsity competition.
Just days before Taylor pledged to Georgia Tech, he received an offer from Iowa. Though the Iowa coaches respected the Gonzaga defensive back’s choice, they still touched base with Taylor every so often and soon built a relationship. St. John’s defensive back Omar Truitt, who committed to Iowa in June, also had Taylor’s ear for the last few months, eventually piquing the Gonzaga senior’s interest enough to take a visit to Iowa this past weekend.
“I felt like I had made a hasty decision in committing to Georgia Tech, because I was so excited that they offered me a scholarship,” Taylor said. “As I talked to the coaches at Iowa and Omar more, I really wanted to take a visit out there, and once I did, I fell in love with everything, from the culture and the way people love football to the players and the coaches.”
Before departing on Sunday, Taylor affirmed his commitment to the Hawkeyes and broke the news to the Georgia Tech coaches in a tough phone call.
“I really appreciate Georgia Tech for giving me a chance to play there,” Taylor said. “The recruiting process was pretty crazy at times, but I feel comfortable with my decision and I’m ready to get to work. I’m a Hawkeye.”
The honorable mention All-Met said the Iowa coaches plan to use him at strong safety and on special teams in hopes of capitalizing on his speed and physical play.
Jones, who also competed in the WCAC, possesses his share of quickness and power at the defensive lineman spot. But it wasn’t until this past fall, when Jones finally took Carroll Coach Rick Houchens up on his offer to play football, that the recruiting world began to notice.
In his lone season of play, Jones racked up 26 sacks and led the Lions to the DCSAA Class A title. Along the way, he picked up offers from Virginia, Old Dominion, Illinois and Wake Forest before committing to Toledo in December.
But as National Signing Day grew closer, Jones couldn’t shake the urge to re-evaluate his recruitment and gauge his interest in Virginia. After taking an unofficial visit to U-Va. during last Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Jones decided to make an official visit to Charlottesville this past weekend.
While there, Jones excitedly soaked in the athletic and academic atmosphere, including the Darden School of Business, where he hopes to build a foundation for life after football.
“Just hanging out with the players and coaches was great and I loved the visit,” Jones said. “On Sunday, I had a meeting with Coach [Mike] London and as we were talking football, he asked me if I felt like I could be a part of this family. And I said, ‘You know what? I do. This is where I want to spend the next four years of my life.”
Jones said the Cavaliers plan to play him at outside linebacker, believing that is the best place for an athlete with his speed, quick first step and sure hands.
In other WCAC recruiting news, McNamara’s Damian Prince narrowed his list of schools to Florida and Maryland, with Auburn, LSU and Penn State having an outside chance after recently swooping into his recruitment. The senior offensive lineman eliminated South Carolina after taking an official visit there two weeks ago. He will take his fourth official visit to Florida this coming weekend.
NUMBER CRUNCH: 4
Games forfeited by Coolidge’s boys’ basketball team Monday due to the use of an ineligible player in December. As a result, the Colts, who were ranked No. 16 in last week’s rankings, were forced to forfeit wins against Cesar Chavez, Phelps, Herndon and Gonzaga.
DCPS has stripped four wins by Coolidge’s boys’ basketball team due to use of an ineligible player in December. More to come. #allmets
— Roman Stubbs (@romanstubbs) January 27, 2014
VIDEO OF THE DAY
Here are this week’s top plays, including a pretty nasty dunk at the No. 1 spot.
BONUS VIDEO OF THE DAY
In an important Conference 5 battle, No. 14 Herndon takes on No. 20 Robinson on Tuesday. Watch this to get you hyped.
– Both the boys’ and girls’ Post Top 20 basketball rankings feature a new No. 1 team this week. Click here to find out who is on top.
– Check out who made this week’s All-Met basketball watch.
– W.T. Woodson, winners of eight of its last nine games, finds itself in limbo after a burst pipe flooded its home gym.
– The many new faces on Capitol Christian’s girls’ basketball team showed signs of jelling during an upset of then-No. 1 Riverdale Baptist this past weekend.
– After graduating their six top scorers from last year’s Maryland 3A state runner-up, Magruder is beginning to round into form this season.
– Twins Jenna and Julia Collins lead the way for an inexperienced yet talented River Hill squad.
– Bell’s girls’ team is beginning to show growth after enduring a tough early-season schedule.
– Potomac’s (Md.) Myia Fletcher continued her torrid scoring pace with 46 points in last week’s win against Central.
– Westlake defeated SMAC boys’ rival North Point for the first time since 2009 last week to extend its run of strong play this season.
– Holy Cross has used a six-game win streak to inch back into contention within the WCAC girls’ standings.
– Behind Mike Hamlin’s standout play, Hylton finds itself in prime position within the Conference 4 standings despite losing four players to transfer before this season.
– Alexia Johnson is known as the “firestarter” for Broad Run’s offense.
– Tykera Carter and T.C. Williams are eager for Tuesday’s rematch against West Springfield after falling to the Spartans by one point earlier this season.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
Boys’ basketball: No. 11 Clinton Christian at No. 13 National Christian, 7 p.m.
The Capital Beltway Athletic Association rivals will face off for the first time this season, both coming off of close losses to nationally ranked opponents. Talented Division I recruits, such as Clinton Christian’s Jon Davis and National Christian’s Christian Matthews, abound in this matchup, which should make for an intriguing contest.