Former South Stanly (Norwood, N.C.) standout Justin Taylor intends on being a Virginia Tech Hokie, but the 6-2 defensive end prospect has decided to hold off on enrolling this summer and now plans on enrolling in January. As South Stanly head coach Luke Little explains, the decision is not related to academics.
“He is going to Hargrave Military Academy until January. Then, he’ll go to Virginia Tech,” Little said of Taylor, who signed a letter of intent with Virginia Tech in February. “Academically, he is fine. They went this route to give him another year to play before he goes to Virginia Tech. As far as his classwork and everything is concerned, he’s fine. He’ll go to Hargrave and take some classes, but he doesn’t need to improve anything.”
Taylor was primarily a basketball player before the fall of 2008. That year, he decided to play football for the first time. He certainly was raw out on the gridiron, but he showed off excellent athleticism and went on to earn scholarship offers from the likes of Virginia Tech, Auburn and N.C. State in the offseason before his senior season.
Taylor was tough to handle as a senior, racking up 16 sacks despite missing the first four games of the season due to a hamstring injury. But both he and the Tech coaches felt it would be best to gain another year of football experience before arriving in Blacksburg.
“He was going to red-shirt either way, but they both thought it would be better if he went to Hargrave. He gets to play another full season and then go in the spring and learn from them,” Little said.
Taylor played varsity basketball throughout his high school years, including as a senior. Following his senior season on the hard court, he worked hard in the weight room and now weighs 227 pounds.
“He has been working every day,” Little said. “He has gotten a lot thicker. He is as heavy as he has ever been.”
South Stanly 2012 prospect
Wes Cole may be a prospect to watch. The 6-6, 310-pound rising junior has improved this offseason and will start on both sides of the line this season.
“He started for us last year as a sophomore on the defensive line. He played a little offensive line, but he didn’t move real well. He has improved a bunch on his footwork and he is going to start at right tackle and defensive line,” Little said.