You won't find Delmar Taylor on any national recruiting lists. And unless you attended one of the five high school football games he played in at Miami Beach High this past fall, you probably have never seen him.
But assuming all goes well over the next month, the 6-5, 260-pound Bahamian born defensive tackle will be one of the recruits who is a part of the University of Miami's 2010 signing class. Taylor is about as raw and unknown a player as there is in South Florida. But according to our recruiting coordinator Larry Blustein, who saw Taylor play twice, he is very, very talented.
"I came away very impressed with his quickness and strength," Blustein said. "This is an athlete who never takes plays off, which is something any college coach notices right away. This is an athlete who has a real chance to do some big things at the next level."
According to Miami Beach coach Ralph Jimenez, FIU coach Mario Cristobal was the first to spot Taylor and offer him a scholarship. Bowling Green and Western Michigan followed. Memphis was about to offer. But according to Jimenez, when UM assistant coach Wesley McGriff came in a day before students went on vacation for Christmas break and watched film of Taylor, it was love at first sight on both sides.
"If he stays injury free and stays hungry and shows me the way he has shown me since he showed up in January, he could definitely play in the NFL one day," said Jimenez, who has been at Miami Beach High for two seasons. "He has to stay coachable and watch a lot of film. All the things he's done with us, he has to continue to do. But once you meet the kid, you fall in love with him. He didn't even know how to get into a three-point stance when we got him last January. But he's got a lot of talent and a lot of hunger."
Taylor first came to South Florida, according to his uncle Tony Hamilton, when he was 14 and enrolled at Miramar High. But after his mom was involved in a bad car accident, he was forced to return home and work to financially support his mom and now eight-year old brother Malik.
"His mom is better now, which is why he was able to come back," Hamilton said. "But when he went back, he was working with his uncle in plumbing, learning the trade and making whatever money he could to take care of his mom and brother. It was pretty tough. He sacrificed himself."
According to Hamilton, Taylor returned to South Florida his junior year and went out for football at Miramar, where Taylor lives. But he never saw the field because he was still learning how to play. In January 2009, Taylor enrolled him at Miami Beach High, not far from where he works at a nearby Publix. Unfortunately, do to some eligibility issues, the Florida High School Athletic Association only allowed him to play in five games at Miami Beach. Still, Jimenez said, Taylor made his presence felt. He earned best rusher award at the Down & Dirty Camp and played well in his five games.
"One thing he's done is gotten a lot stronger," Jimenez said. "When he first got here he was 6-4, 225. Now, he's 6-5, 260. He was benching 185 and now he's up to 260. He was power cleaning 125 and is at 225. We really pushed himself in the weight room. He was one of the guys who broke records. Now, he's squating 385 pounds. He's a great story."
Jimenez said Taylor has the grades to get into UM. "He's got like a 2.8 GPA and an 18 on his ACT score," Jimenez said. "Believe me, UM wouldn't have offered if they didn't think he could make it into school. He's a qualifier."
Taylor isn't the only good recruiting news for the Canes in the last 24 hours. Monsignor Pace quarterback Stephen Morris said he's a full-go to begin classes next week at UM and participate in spring football. Morris had been waiting on clearance from his school's principal on graduating early. He got it. Pace usually doesn't let students graduate in January.
It looks like Morris will be joined by running backs Eduardo Clements and Storm Johnson, linebacker Tyrone Cornileus, center Shane McDermott and offensive tackle Malcolm Bunche as early entrants. UM is still waiting on word regarding JUCO tight end Chase Ford, who needs approval on a class he took at another school to begin this spring.
> Two current Cane commitments and cornerbacks -- Devont'a Davis from Gainesville High and Jeremy Davis from Cape Coral -- will take visits to other schools this weekend. Jeremy Davis is visiting North Carolina and Devont'a Davis is headed to Arkansas.
> Don't hold your breath on the top offensive tackle in the country, Seantrel Henderson, visiting UM on Jan. 29. The Hurricanes weren't probably going to land him anyway.
Here are some clips on Delmar Taylor...