Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Raymon Taylor, #6

Raymon Taylor
Taylor attended Highland Park High School in Detroit and was a Rivals 4-star, the #14 athlete in the 2011 class. Here's my commitment post for him from January 2011 (LINK), when the one-time Indiana commit flipped to Michigan after the Wolverines hired Brady Hoke. I gave him a TTB Rating of 67.

When Taylor arrived in 2011, Michigan was in a tenuous situation at the cornerback positions. Injuries, attrition, and some downright poor play had thinned the ranks of viable cornerbacks. Four different players (J.T. Floyd, Troy Woolfolk, Blake Countess, and Courtney Avery) started games that season, and Taylor played as a backup in three of those games, making 2 total tackles. In the 2012 season opener, Countess tore his ACL, and Taylor stepped in to start for the remainder of the year. He tallied an interception in consecutive weeks against Notre Dame and then Purdue, returning the latter for a 63-yard touchdown; he also made 45 tackles, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 pass breakup that year. As a junior in 2013, Taylor remained a starter and had his best career performance, notching 86 tackles (1st on the team), 1.5 tackles for loss, .5 sacks, 4 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery, and 9 pass breakups. Based on his junior year, expectations were fairly high for him as a senior; his career ended with a disappointing 38 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 6 pass breakups as he suffered some nagging injuries and started just eight games.

171 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, .5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 16 pass breakups
6 interceptions returned for 145 yards (24.2 yards/return) and 1 touchdown


In the long term, Taylor will probably be a rather forgettable, solid cornerback. He was a three-year starter who did not get taken advantage of consistently, but he was not consistently good, either. Playing at about 5'10" and a little over 180 lbs., he did not show great speed but was physical enough and athletic enough to hang with the guys he was guarding. His two most memorable plays were probably those two picks as a sophomore when he jumped a pass against the Fighting Irish and then sort of lucked into that touchdown against the Boilermakers. Michigan fans thought they might have found a hidden gem at that point, and that feeling continued through his junior season. The somewhat inexplicable drop-off as a senior coincided with a drop-off by the whole team; otherwise, Taylor himself might have been under more scrutiny.

. . . that touchdown against Purdue. It was a little bit of luck that the ball dropped into his hands, but it's a beautiful thing when a defender scores a touchdown of any kind. Especially when it comes at the expense of Danny Hope and Caleb TerBush.


Taylor was not invited to the NFL Combine. He will likely participate in Michigan's pro day, which typically happens in mid-March. I'm inclined to believe that some of Taylor's struggles as a senior can be attributed to his health, and his solid play from 2012-2013 might warrant a second look by some NFL teams. However, he will have an uphill battle to latch on with an NFL squad. He does not have good size, and his speed is pretty average for a corner. He probably will not get drafted, he might get signed as a rookie free agent, and then he might bounce around some practice squads before finding a short career in the CFL or AFL.


  1. Long, long ago I interviewed Ray shortly before he arrived on campus. Several weeks later, I accidentally called him while he was at one of his first Michigan workouts. His voice sounded fairly similar to the friend who I was trying to reach, so I didn't initially realize that I had made the mistake. Despite the noise of crashing weights and loud voices all around him, he didn't immediately blow me off or just hang up the phone. In fact, he had saved my number, and he even kept me on the phone for a few minutes just to make conversation and laugh it off. I thought it was a nice gesture.

    1. That's a real cool story and demonstrates what a good man he is.

      Also, I am not so sure that interception was lucky. Its just what should happen when a receiver kinda volleyball sets it on a tee for the defender. When you receiver's pop the ball up like that (something Michigan guys did repeatedly to an already struggling Gardner) its makes for an easy interception. I know Gardner made some very bad throws, but he also had to be the unluckiest guy ever with regards to tipped passes, receivers reaching out with one arm and leaving the ball hanging in the arm, etc.