Hello, my name is . . . Laron Taylor
Two-time team captain led his school to its first ever state championship last fall
The Hawkeyes picked up a pair of commitments from Detroit's Cass Tech High School -- safety Ruben Lile and linebacker Laron Taylor.
Cass Tech won the school's first Division I state championship with a landslide 49-13 victory over Detroit Catholic Central. Cass Tech was just the second team from the Detroit Public School League to reach a state final.
In the final rankings before the state playoffs, Detroit Catholic Central was No. 7. Cass Tech was ranked No. 18 in the preseason but quickly fell out after losing 43-7 to Farmington Hills Harrison in the opener.
The 49-13 defeat in the title game was Catholic Central's worst loss in 40 years.
Cass Tech sent seven players to FBS schools on signing day. It was a success story of "Remember the Titans" proportions.
That success was met with some -- well, for lack of a better word -- hate. Check this link to a MLive.com post about a letter that was sent to Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher full of pure racism and vitriol.
So, Taylor and Lile will come to Iowa with a head of steam to shove a keyboard up the . . . something . . . of that letter writer.
Here's the Iowa bio on Taylor [there's not a whole lot out there on him; he did pick Iowa over Cincinnati]:
Earned first team all-state honors as a senior . . . was first team all-Metro as a junior and senior . . . earned all-City honors as a sophomore and junior . . . Career - - three-year starter while helping team win state title as a senior with 12-3 record . . . team posted 12-1 record as a junior, advancing to state semifinals . . . team captain as junior and senior . . . led team in tackles for three straight seasons . . . recorded 120 tackles as a senior, with 20 tackles for loss, two sacks and a recovered fumble . . . 105 tackles as a junior, with 24 tackles for loss, four sacks, two recovered fumbles and an interception . . . recorded 75 tackles as a sophomore, with 20 tackles for loss, five sacks, four forced fumbles, one interception and one touchdown.
From ESPN.com: Taylor is an active linebacker demonstrating the strength and playing speed to get around the football consistently. Has the minimum size along with the athletic ability for the outside linebacker position at the major level of competition. This guy is a tough customer; can wrap and punish ball carriers; should be productive as a special team's coverage defender. Appears to have the flexibility, balance and agility necessary to play in space; does a good job with key and diagnosis reaction skills against the pass and run. This prospect is a willing downhill player inside and off the edge flashing the playing strength to take on and defeat blockers at the point of attack. We like his quickness and ability to move through traffic in pursuit of the football; can play laterally while doing a good job of maintaining leverage on plays away. His production against the pass results from his inside blitz timing; can beat blockers up middle, demonstrating a good closing burst to the quarterback. Displays the ability to get depth in zone coverage with good underneath and outside route recognition awareness; his athleticism and movement in space indicate potential as an inside man coverage defender. This a tough guy who plays with the motor and intensity which allow him to make momentum changing plays. Although Taylor does not appear to be an immediate starter at the BCS level of play his playing speed and toughness could earn him early playing time if a red shirt year is not deemed necessary.
What Iowa coaches said
Recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson: He weighed in at 225 on his visit here. He's 5-11 1/2 or 6-foot, but really good nose for the ball. Probably end up being an inside guy for us. Good leader on that team. He and Ruben helped that team win the first state championship in the history of that program. Great tradition to start there.
What I think
We have to talk about Laron Taylor's Twitter feed. It's active, to put it mildly. It's all over the board. My opinion, it's the mind of a teenager. Of course, this doesn't jibe with Kirk Ferentz's no tweet policy (notice every January, the number of Iowa seniors who suddenly pop up on Twitter).
Could this be read as foreshadowing of trouble or friction? For the cynics, that would be yes. Remember how Niko Law tweeted away the days and nights before he enrolled at Iowa last fall? He seems to be fine. He has a legit shot at starting strong safety this spring.
Maybe the best thing to happen to Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook is Kirk Ferentz?