HS coach: Tennessee pulls scholarship offer to 4-star TE commit a day before National Signing Day

Nick Bromberg
·2 min read

It doesn’t look like Roc Taylor will be part of Tennessee’s 2021 recruiting class.

Taylor, a 4-star tight end from Oxford (Alabama) High School, verbally committed to Tennessee in April. But his coach Keith Etheredge told Al.com on Tuesday that the Volunteers had pulled Taylor’s scholarship offer earlier in the day. Wednesday is National Signing Day, the day where most schools will finalize their recruiting classes.

“It’s such a frustrating situation,” Etheredge told Al.com. “When kids do the right thing and then coaches come in and do something like this to a kid … unbelievable. Some coaches get mad when a kid changes his mind at the last second. Well, it’s hard to hold a kid accountable for something you are not willing to be accountable for yourself.”

Taylor committed to the Vols while coach Jeremy Pruitt was in charge. He didn’t waver as Tennessee went 3-7 in 2020 and remained committed to the school as Pruitt was fired in January and UCF coach Josh Heupel was hired earlier this week.

Heupel, however, apparently doesn’t want Taylor as a part of his team’s class. And didn’t give the player much time to find a new school. While players can still sign with schools after National Signing Day, most schools have filled their open scholarships by Wednesday. Especially now that players can sign with schools as early as December.

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - NOVEMBER 7:  Helmet of the Tennessee Volunteers on the sidelines during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks in the first half at Razorback Stadium on November 7, 2020 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Razorbacks defeated the Volunteers 24-13.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Tennessee went 3-7 in 2020. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Taylor is the No. 12 TE in the country

Etheredge said what Tennessee did was “bush league.” He told the site that he had talked to new Tennessee assistant Alex Golesh and Golesh said that the new Volunteers staff was unsure if Taylor would be eligible to play in 2021. If that truly was a concern, it couldn’t have made the call to Etheredge earlier?

Etheredge’s quotes in the full story are worth reading. He doesn’t hold back about how he feels Tennessee’s new staff has acted poorly.

The Volunteers need all of the good players they can get. And Taylor is a pretty good one. He’s ranked as the No. 12 TE in the class of 2021 and the No. 11 player in the state of Alabama according to Rivals. He’s one of eight four-star recruits in Tennessee’s recruiting class and the only four-star player in the class who didn’t sign with the school while Pruitt was still the coach in December.

Pruitt’s departure has led to an exodus in Knoxville. Running backs Eric Gray and Ty Chandler transferred along with star linebacker Henry To’o To’o. LBs Quavaris Crouch and Deandre Johnson have also transferred in addition to OL Wanya Morris. Heupel and his still-being-assembled coaching staff have a lot of work to do to rebuild Tennessee’s roster.

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