Taylor picks the Irish
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Three-star defensive tackle Elijah Taylor announced his commitment to Notre Dame on Friday. The a 6-foot-4, 285-pounder from Archbishop Moeller High School in Cincinnati chose the Irish over Ohio State, Michigan State and Tennessee.
"He really enjoyed all of them," said Taylor's father, Kevin Taylor. "He was able to spend the night at all of them to get around the players. I think it came down to the finalists, probably Notre Dame and Ohio State. They were the closest. The other two schools were right there with them, but in the end I think it came down to those two schools."
For Taylor, ranked by Rivals.com as the 31st best player at his position, the decision hinged on several factors, including Notre Dame's smaller campus, history and tradition and the academic reputation of the school.
"I don't know if it was one specific thing," Kevin Taylor said. "I will say that their tradition, the coaching staff and the academics was wonderful there, as it was in most schools that recruited him. I think it was the combination of all of those factors. Elijah just felt it was the best fit for him."
Taylor is a good fit for the Irish too.
Moeller head coach John Rodenberg, who spoke at Notre Dame's Coaches Clinic this spring, said Taylor ranks among the strongest players he's ever developed.
"He's extremely strong and he's a leader, a captain for us," Rodenberg said. "He's the type of kid that's going to be a great college player. He's at 285 pounds or so with about a 36-inch waist. I think he can get well into the 300's."
It's not just size and strength that forecast success on the college level for Taylor.
"He's very disciplined and he comes from a real good family," Rodenberg said. "He's college strong. We stop him on his deadlifts at 650 and he benches 405. He squats over 600. He's college ready."
Notre Dame recruited Taylor as a defensive tackle but he has some experience playing outside as well.
"We're a college 4-3 (defensive alignment)," Rodenberg said. "He's a 1-technique. He plays his position and does a great job. We mix him up between the 1 and the 3. (Notre Dame) is looking for a true defensive tackle. He's a tackle. They had some guys that departed for the NFL and they had a need at defensive tackle and they went after him."
The Irish weren't alone in recruiting Taylor and several schools made the short list.
But Notre Dame won over Taylor and his parents.
"It was most of his doing," Kevin Taylor said. "He listened to family, his mother and I, just on things we thought were best for him, but it was all his decision. We would have supported him either way. We truly like Notre Dame. We liked all his finalists. The deciding factor was all him. He asked us our opinions that we gave him but it was all Elijah."