The reason to be excited for Taylor's football upside is simple. Taylor -- the No. 1 ranked prospect in Missouri by many of the recruiting websites -- has the athleticism to break big plays any time he touches the ball. He has the running back vision to find creases and seams that made Badger fans wonder just what was happening with four-star standout Antonio Williams when the Badgers first started recruiting the 5'11, 190-pound Taylor. But while running back Jordan Stevenson being denied admission to the university leaves the possibility of carries open, Taylor appears set to be a weapon at wide receiver for the Badgers.
Taylor, who is Wisconsin's 16th-known verbal commitment in the class of 2016, holds the following rankings from the top recruiting services:
- 247Sports: Three stars; 0.87 rating; No. 675 overall; No. 48 running back; No. 5 overall prospect in Missouri
- 247 Sports (composite): Four stars; No. 282 overall; No. 13 running back; No. 1 overall prospect in Missouri
- Rivals: Four stars; No. 143 overall, No. 1 Missouri
- Scout: Three stars; No. 98 wide receiver; No. 1 Missouri wide receiver
Taylor recently listed a top three that included Maryland and Northwestern. He also received offers from Iowa, Kansas State, Missouri, and Nebraska, along with Vanderbilt, Harvard and Yale, too.
Taylor announced his decision in a very unique way Saturday afternoon, as per Scout.com's Derek Young and Rivals.com's Randy Withers who were at the ceremony, Taylor's family made a "Collegeopoly" board -- in the spirit of the board game Monopoly and apparently a family favorite -- to show his decision.
Wanted to share decision with community instead of on Twitter according to AJ's mom. The people he grew up with.— Derek Young (@DYoungScout) August 1, 2015
The Missouri prospect also brought his teammates up on stage and also supplied them with a gift each of a T-shirt for the upcoming season:
AJ has all his youth teammate come up on stage with him.— Derek Young (@DYoungScout) August 1, 2015
He then went up to his Collegeopoly board, and made the decision of where he'll spend his collegiate career as a student-athlete:
AJ Taylor now going around the Monopoly board, asking for people to speak on each school. KU and Mizzou get houses, Iowa does not.— Randy Withers (@RandyWithersKC) August 1, 2015
AJ Taylor gets a good response on Wisconsin. Badgers get a house, Northwestern does not.— Randy Withers (@RandyWithersKC) August 1, 2015
Repeated chants led by Mr. Taylor, "What time is it? DECISION TIME!"— Randy Withers (@RandyWithersKC) August 1, 2015
AJ Taylor draws a Chance card "Advance to the college of your choosing"— Randy Withers (@RandyWithersKC) August 1, 2015
All in all, it's definitely a day for the #boom, as well as the wrestling gifs. The Badgers got themselves a much needed skill position prospect with speed, as he runs a verified 4.5 40-yard dash. The run, which started Friday with news that Clemson graduate transfer Kellen Jones would reportedly join the Badgers for 2015, may continue early next week as Hollywood, Fla. (Hallandale) speedster Demari Simpkins is set to make a decision in the coming day or two between Wisconsin and Utah.
I'm making my verbal commitment to the UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON pic.twitter.com/tCs0sb7t1D— AJ Taylor (@aj_taylor2016) August 1, 2015