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Leonard Taylor: A Program Changer That Miami Needs To Land

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The 5-star defensive tackle will be making his decision on August 6th

247 Sports

Without a doubt, the name that is headlining all Hurricanes recruiting news, is 5-star defensive tackle Leonard Taylor out of Miami Palmetto. The monster in the middle will be making his decision on August 6th where he’ll be playing, and it’ll be between the Canes and the Florida Gators.

Now, a lot of people know Taylor’s name because of his recruiting rankings and recent mentions on social media, but make no mistake, the talent backs up all the hype.

247 Sports has Taylor as the number one defensive tackle in the 2021 recruiting cycle, #2 player in Florida, and the #4 overall player in the entire country for 2021. The website compared him to Quinnen Williams, who was an Outland Trophy winner and All-American at Alabama, before being selected third-overall by the New York Jets in 2019.

As a junior, Taylor totaled 26 tackles, and an astounding 11 sacks, the type of pass-rushing skills you don’t see too often from a defensive tackle. Taylor is part of the “Palmetto 5”, along with highly-recruited teammates 3-star WR Brashard Smith, 5-star CB Jason Marshall, 4-star safety Corey Collier Jr., and 4-star DT Savion Collins, who is already committed to Miami.

Taylor is the kind of talent that I like to call “program changing,” a type of player that will make Miami’s defense and entire team a threat to college football for the next several years.

At 6-4 and 255 pounds, Taylor has the ability to change the gameplan of the opposing offense, and still will find a way to get into the backfield. The combination of size and speed, Taylor is the kind of star at defensive tackle that the Hurricanes have been without for years.

Miami has long had a history for developing defensive tackles, such as Warren Sapp, Cortez Kennedy, Vince Wilfork, just to name a few. Though, besides the great season by Gerald Willis in 2018, UM hasn’t had that kind of production and threat at DT for far too long.

Taylor coming to Miami would be exactly what Miami needs to keep building on their defensive line for the future. Next year, the Hurricanes will be returning edge-rusher Jaelan Phillips, along with current redshirt freshman Jahfari Harvey, as well as DT Nesta Jade Silvera. If Taylor is in Coral Gables, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him push Jordan Miller and others to start alongside Silvera at tackle.

Even after that, Miami will have Harvey for the next couple years, along with true freshman Chantz Williams, and 2020 DL commits Jabari Ishmael, Allan Haye, and Savion Collins, who is Taylor’s teammate at Palmetto. You add Taylor in the mix, and you’ll have one of the top defensive lines in all of college football for the next few seasons.

But it’s more than all of that, Taylor coming to Miami would bring memories of the old days, where the Hurricanes were able to get the top talent in South Florida. With the way that Manny Diaz is steering this program, Taylor is the kind of recruit you need if Miami wants to get back to national prominence.