Croot Loops: S Miles Taylor

Late flip might end up really benefiting Iowa's secondary

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When a recruit makes the call in March, in reality, that makes him a target for other schools for that much longer.

It shouldn't work that way, but it does.

Gonzaga College High School (Washington D.C.) safety Miles Taylor committed to Georgia Tech last March, nearly a year ago. He committed after his junior day visit. But just days before he committed, Taylor, a speedy, physical 6-0, 185-pounder, received an offer from Iowa. That kind of stuck. Omar Truitt, an early Iowa commit and Maryland native, got in Taylor's ear.

“I felt like I had made a hasty decision in committing to Georgia Tech, because I was so excited that they offered me a scholarship,” Taylor told the Washington Post. “As I talked to the coaches at Iowa and Omar more, I really wanted to take a visit out there, and once I did, I fell in love with everything, from the culture and the way people love football to the players and the coaches.”

Iowa is bringing in Taylor as a strong safety.

“As a two-year starter at safety for us, Miles plays the game really fast and he’s a physical player that flies around out there and coaches love that,” Gonzaga coach Aaron Brady told the Post.

Taylor also held offers from Iowa, Temple and U-Mass. and strong interest from the likes of Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Rutgers, Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Syracuse and Boston College.

“Coach [Phil] Parker said that he wants me to play strong safety. They see me fitting in really well there," Miles told "I think that's a perfect fit for me because we run pretty much the same defense at my high school, but you know Iowa is a little more complex being a college team. There are a lot more checks and more switches and adjustments and whatnot, but I'm familiar with the defense and I like how their safeties come down and hit. That's my game, so I like that."

Miles recorded 86 tackles, eight pass break-ups, two fumble recoveries and a sack as a senior. He also had three interceptions including one returned for a TD. As a junior, Miles collected 85 tackles as a junior, with 11 pass break-ups, three sacks, three fumble recoveries and four interceptions.

Basics: Gonzaga College High School (Silver Spring, Md.), 6-0, 185, strong safety

Dent the depth chart in ’14? — The further you go from the ball on the line of scrimmage -- except for running back, probably, -- the better the chance you have to play as a true freshman. Taylor might have the best chance. Iowa needs safety depth. After senior John Lowdermilk, there's senior Nico Law and . . . really that's about it. Anthony Gair and Ruben Lile will be sophomores. They've seen little time in defensive scrimmage play. Greg Mabin, Malik Rucker and Solomon Warfield are the next wave. With so many thin resumes ahead of him, why not Taylor?

Off-the-top-of-my-head Hawkeye comparison — Miguel Merrick/Marcus Paschal (the great forgotten safeties of Iowa football) scouting snippet — Displays productivity from depth and in the box. Is tight and controlled in backpedal, generally with good hip sink and balance to move without much wasted motion out of his breaks. Will get off the hash quickly and open hips and get over the top of routes. Has enough range to manage deep third responsibilities, but lack of length and top-end speed might hinder his production at the next level. Not a playmaker at this point but takes good angles to the point and does a good job of getting into position to separate the ball from receiver. Not much man-to-man experience and might struggle versus bigger TEs to gain position. . . . However, he can be disruptive off the edge with a short-area burst to generate some power and deliver a clean hit. Takes direct angles in pursuit from depth to make a play on the ball carrier. Can avoid traffic while on the move. Will lower shoulder and uncoil a hit on ball carrier when given the proper angle. Shows the ability to punch ball free with good body control while creating a collision. . . . Taylor may need some polish to his overall game, particularly in coverage, but has some ability and physical tools to mold. We would like to see him add size while improving speed and flexibility. Projects to play at a high level and could be of good value as a special teams player early in his college career.

What Iowa said . . .

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz on going after more defense than offense in this class: “The DB thing keeps growing. Like I said, how many scholarships did we budget for your position again and he just kept recruiting guys. But the guys that we were involved with who we're really excited about and think they're good players, one thing I was intrigued about with most of them is they have two-way flexibility, if you will. We're planning on playing those guys on defense, but just to see guys with ball skills, I think immediately of Micah Hyde who was not a high recruited guy, but that's one thing about Micah, he had great ball skills. He could have been our best receiver his senior year, but I think it all worked out well for him.

"Miles was the last to join the class in that group, and we just really liked Miles all the way. And as the process went on he became a little bit warmer to what we had to say and it just kind ofw orked out that way.”

Iowa recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson on how Taylor ended up at Iowa: “Phil had a connection with his coach. We had been on him for a long time. He made the early commitment. Chris [White, Iowa assistant] did a great job hanging in there with him. I think maybe two months ago we knew we were going to get him. The marriage wasn't consummated, but we felt good about it.”

Definitely a safety: "Safety all the way."

Strong or free?: "You have to be able to get a feel for how they run the defense. The free safety makes more calls than the strong. It's kind of the personality they have once they get out here."

What I think (FWIW, obviously) . . .

If you watch the YouTubes, Taylor basically played Iowa's defense in high school. It looked as though he was at least a half-field safety in either a cover 2 or cover 4. This is a highlight video, so it shows successful breaks on plays. Taylor seems to have a nose for what an offense is trying to do. He read screens, outside runs and short passes well, broke and made sure tackles. Now, does that make him susceptible to fakes and ghost chasing on the college level? Sure, but that's pretty much every freshman. Physically, Taylor looks ready to play. Wouldn't be shocked to see him on at least special teams.

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