Alontae Taylor Signs NLI with Tennessee on Friday

Alontae Taylor, surrounded by family and coaches, smiles after signing the National Letter of Intent with the University of Tennessee

Choking back tears, Alontae Taylor thanked his grandmother as “the biggest inspiration in my life” on Friday as he signed his National Letter of Intent to play college football at the University of Tennessee.  As the tears flowed inside the Joe Frank Patch Memorial Gym at Coffee County Central High School, rain began to come down in torrents in an eerily symbolic gesture of the passion that has driven Coffee County’s most acclaimed athlete in a generation.  Flanked by family and coaches, Alontae followed through on the promise he made to Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt as Pruitt’s first commitment to Tennessee under the new head coach.

Taylor, rated as a 4-star recruit by the national recruiting services, becomes one of the highlights of the Class of 2018 for Tennessee.  Alontae became the 12th player to sign with Tennessee during the December early signing period. Taylor rescinded his previous commitment of more than a year in September and made the announcement on November 12th when Tennessee fired former head coach Butch Jones.  Taylor took official recruiting visits to Wake Forest, Georgia and Notre Dame, after receiving 29 Division 1 scholarship offers.

Taylor becomes the first Division 1 football signee for Coffee County since the 1970’s on the final day of the early signing period for high school seniors.  Taylor, who completed his high school degree in 3 ½ years, will enroll at Tennessee in January.  Taylor will be able to begin the strength and conditioning program at Tennessee and participate in spring football for the Vols.

When asked what a mature young man Alontae was, Coach Ryan Sulkowski had this to say:

Taylor still has one more game to play before joining the college ranks as he will participate in the 2018 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game.  The 2018 Under Armour All-America Game will be played Jan. 4, 2018 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. The game will be broadcast on ESPN and practices will be aired on ESPNU.  Alontae is one of more than 80 players selected to compete in the 10-year anniversary game of the annual Under Armour All-America Game presented by American Family Insurance, a nationally televised competition spotlighting the country’s top high school seniors.  Taylor is one of 2 players from Tennessee selected for the game as he joins Jordan Davis of Memphis’ Southwind High School on the team.

When asked what signing day meant to him, Taylor had this to say: