Massive tight end prospect is a potential red zone nightmare
Lost in the excitement of signing Arik Gilbert, the highest rated tight end prospect in 247’s history, is that LSU signed a second tight end to its 2020 recruiting class: Kole Taylor.
It wasn’t that long ago where the tight ends at LSU played as essentially a sixth offensive linemen. But not only did Joe Burrow transform what the quarterback position could be at LSU, in 2019 Thad Moss had the best statistical season a tight end has ever had in program history. Arik Gilbert has been described like Calvin Johnson but can Kole Taylor have an impact in the passing game too?
Taylor comes to Baton Rouge from an usual place: Grand Junction, Colorado. Go look through all of LSU’s signing classes from 1969 to 2020, you won’t find a single player from Colorado on that list. Taylor’s the first football player from Colorado to ever sign with LSU.
Taylor was a top-10 tight end prospect in last year’s class and got offers from the schools you’d expect a Colorado kid to get: Washington, Arizona State, Oregon and Colorado all offered Taylor. Other blue bloods had interest in Taylor, too. Schools like Auburn, Miami, Michigan and Penn State among others all threw an offer Taylor’s way.
LSU got in on Taylor last year. Per Taylor, LSU offered on February 25, 2019. He visited campus unofficially in April, and came back for an official visit that June. About six weeks later, Taylor committed in July leading up to his senior year, signed his letter of intent in December, and enrolled in January.
Need more proof that the numbers Thad Moss put up last year will change how LSU recruits tight ends? Here’s Taylor himself talking about the changes Joe Brady and Steve Ensminger implemented.
“They had really recruited blocking tight ends since their scheme was ground-heavy,” Taylor said. “This year, they got a new passing game coordinator and he opened up that offense a lot. What they saw in me was that I’m a passing-catching tight end.”
Five-stars (98-110 rating): The top 32 players in the country to mirror the 32 first round picks in the NFL Draft. These are 32 players that we believe are the most likely to be drafted in the first round from each recruiting class. The full list of 32 with five-star ratings typically isn’t complete until the final ranking. Any player with a rating of more than 100 is considered a “franchise player” and one that does not come around in every recruiting class.
Four-stars (90-97 rating): These are players that we believe are the most likely to produce college careers that get them drafted. By National Signing Day, this number is typically in the range of 350 prospects, roughly the top 10 percent of prospects in a given class.
Three-stars (80-89 rating): This is where the bulk of college football prospects are found and it incorporates a large range of ability levels, all of whom we consider as possible NFL players long term.
Two-stars (70-79 rating): These are prospects that we consider to be FBS-level players with very limited NFL potential.
247 Composite Ranking: ***
247 Composite Rating: .8850
Are we sure Kole Taylor is a freshman? pic.twitter.com/qb7KKxDE08
— Cody Worsham (@CodyWorsham) August 20, 2020
The first thing that jumps out about Taylor is his height. He’s massive young lad, LSU has him listed at 6’7” and 243 pounds. Between Gilbert and Taylor, Myles Brennan will have a pair of massive tight ends to throw jump balls to in the red zone on top of Ja’Marr Chase, Terrace Marshall and Racey McMath.
For as big as he is, Taylor’s got surprisingly good hands. In high school he caught 72 passes and 15 touchdowns. While I’m not sure how to gage the competition he faced in Colorado, you can’t ignore his size or his hands.
High end: dependable contributor his first three seasons, starts as a senior and becomes a day three draft pick
Low end: Lives in Gilbert’s shadow and is eventually passed by an underclassmen
Realistic: A taller Foster Moreau. Now Moreau never played in the kind of offense LSU is running, and he certainly didn’t have a teammate like Arik Gilbert playing the exact same position as him. For his career, Moreau caught 52 passes for 629 yards and 6 touchdowns. I think Taylor could leave LSU with numbers similar to that.