Tennessee Vols defensive back Alontae Taylor will wrap up his UT career in 2021.
Taylor, a senior, could’ve opted to transfer after the 2020 season (or enter the 2021 NFL Draft). And it would’ve been understandable if he had made that decision.
After all, Jeremy Pruitt, the coach who recruited him to Tennessee, was fired in January due to recruiting violations that occurred at the program.
Pruitt, regardless of how Vol fans feel about him, was a big part of Taylor’s success.
Taylor was recruited to Tennessee as a wide receiver, but he was moved to defensive back after signing with the Vols.
The former four-star star recruit instantly became a key player for Tennessee in 2018 thanks to Pruitt’s decision to move him to the other side of the ball.
After Pruitt was fired earlier this year, Taylor faced what could’ve been perceived as a tough decision.
Instead of going to the NFL, or transferring to another program, Taylor opted to return to Knoxville for his senior season. And it’s mainly because of what the Power T means to the Manchester, TN native.
It was also because he wanted to finish his degree.
“As far as why did I stay, I’m the third in my family to go to college, and I told my mom that I would get my degree before I left,” said Taylor on Tuesday during his appearance at SEC Media Days. “I tried to get that in three years last year, but it didn’t really work that way. That was one reason.”
“The second reason was this is my state,” explained Taylor. “I’m from the state of Tennessee, and the University of Tennessee means a lot to me. Wearing orange and white is a privilege, and it’s bigger than me, and wearing that Power ’T’ on my chest is bigger than me.”
“Staying here versus going somewhere else was never really too hard of a decision to make,” added Taylor. “I knew I wanted to stay at the University of Tennessee, and I tried to keep as many here as I could.”
Taylor didn’t play on great teams during his time at UT. His four years probably weren’t what he imagined (though the book has yet to be written on his senior season). But the pride he has for the Power T should be endearing to Tennessee fans everywhere.
This is a special player that Tennessee, regardless of the wins and losses, has been lucky to have for the last few years.
Featured image via Knoxville News-Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK/Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports