Following in the footsteps of recent South Brunswick High School football stars and current junior Vikings standout T.J. Taylor will be headed to Rutgers University to play college football after his senior year.
Taylor made a verbal commitment to Coach Kyle Flood and the Scarlet Knights on Wednesday morning.
"It's obviously exciting and we're really happy for him," said former SBHS football coach "We're all really happy for T.J. and his family. It's a great fit at Rutgers. They've been on him for a while and he's been there unofficially to see a few games over the last few years. With Mohamed Sanu and Jevon Tyree having gone there, it's a place T.J. feels comfortable."
Last year during a school record 10-win season, Taylor provided SBHS with a deep threat at wide receiver, and versatility all over the field. Taylor finished with 17 receptions for 468 yards and six touchdowns. He also had five kick returns for 70 yards. As a defensive back, which may be Taylor's ultimate destination at Rutgers, he finished with 52 tackles, one interception, one forced fumble and 8 passes broken up.
"I think they're looking at T.J. as a defensive player, because they love his versatility," Mantz said. "He can play safety and wide receiver. He has a big frame, so he can also move to outside linebacker. Plus he can return kicks, so T.J. will fit in quite nicely."
Scout.com currently lists Taylor as a two-star prospect at safety. Heading into his senior year in 2012-13, in addition to Rutgers Taylor was considering formal offers from Temple University, University of Pittsburgh, Syracuse University, University of Massachusetts and University of Connecticut. Mantz said Taylor was also being heavily recruited with offers pending from Penn State, University of Kansas, University of Wisconsin, Boston College University, University of Maryland, Georgia Tech University and others.
“This is one of those kids that has a great upside,” Brian Dohn, northeast recruiting analyst for Scout.com told MyCentralJersey.com. “He has to put on some weight and get stronger, but he’s athletic and has great length, and he has great potential to play safety for Rutgers in the years ahead.”
With the recent success of star Vikings like of April's NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, at Rutgers in the fall, and at the University of New Haven in the fall, Mantz said it speaks to the high character and athletic ability of kids in the program.
"I've been very blessed in my career to coach great kids like Mohamed, Jevon, T.J. and others," he said. "These are outstanding athletes, but beyond that what makes these kids so attractive to colleges is that they're tremendous kids. T.J. is a wonderful young man. These are the types of kids coaches want to bring to campus. When you see kids getting in trouble and not going to class, they want to bring in kids like T.J. He's an outstanding kid and he's going to do a lot of great things at Rutgers."