T.J. Taylor is no stranger to High Point Solutions Stadium.
The South Brunswick High School football star was all over the home field of the Rutgers University football team last year during the Vikings 33-22 win in the Group V State Championship game over previously unbeaten Manalapan. As it turns out, that won't be Taylor's last game at the stadium.
Making good on a verbal commitment last June, Taylor officially signed his National Letter of Intent Wednesday to play for the Scarlet Knights.
"We're all really happy for T.J. and his family," said former SBHS Coach Rick Mantz last year. "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 (former Vikings) Mohamed Sanu and Jevon Tyree having gone there, it's a place T.J. feels comfortable."
Taylor, who played both wide receiver and defensive back for the Vikings, projects as a safety or linebacker for Rutgers.
"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."
In 2011, the 6'3" Taylor finished with 17 receptions for 468 yards and six touchdowns. He also had five kick returns for 70 yards. As a defensive back, he finished with 52 tackles, one interception, one forced fumble and 8 passes broken up.
In 2012, Taylor finished with 23 receptions for 484 yards and 10 touchdowns. On the defensive side, Taylor recorded 48 tackles, 15 pass breakups and three interceptions. He was named Second Team All State by the Star Ledger and was ranked the number 77 athlete in the nation by ESPN.
“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.”
Following in the footsteps of former SBHS stars Sanu and Tyree, Taylor continues the pipeline of Vikings to the Scarlet Knights.
"T.J. is a wonderful young man," Mantz said. "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."