East Robertson (Tenn.) athlete Taylor Groves committed to Michigan way back in February, but eventually broke off his verbal pledge a month later. Since then, he’s visited Oxford three times. And now he is a part of Lane Kiffin’s 2022 class, committing to the Rebels on Sunday over notable offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Colorado, LSU, Missouri, Notre Dame, Penn State, Purdue, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Vanderbilt.
Groves, the 23rd-ranked athlete in the country, plays both sides of the ball for East Robertson. His length and ball skills caught the eye of Chris Partridge and the Rebels will be looking to add him to an already impressive defensive backs room.
Since playing at the varsity level in eighth grade, Groves has amassed 735 rushing yards, 1,933 receiving yards and 28 total touchdowns. After he started playing both ways as a sophomore, Groves has made over 100 tackles and nine interceptions as a safety.
Before ultimately focusing on football, Groves was also a standout basketball player. The Cross Plains, Tenn. native helped East Robertson to the TSSAA Class A state tournament as a sophomore while averaging 21 points, nine rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. He was also dubbed player of the year and District 9-A Most Valuable Player.
Since im bettin on myself imma completely double down…. Committed pic.twitter.com/6Gds4O6TFZ— taylor groves (@iamtaylorgroves) June 27, 2021
Groves joins 2022 commit Marquez Dortch as the second athlete in Ole Miss’ class.
How does he fit in?
The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder has a lot of similarities with 2018 Ole Miss signee, Miles Battle. The highly-touted receiver from Texas was expected to be next in line for Ole Miss and their long lineage of big-bodies receivers. Instead, he’s now potentially starting for Partridge and DJ Durkin’s defense in 2021. Like Battle, Groves has elite measurables that lend to him being a handful in coverage for receivers when they are trying to make a play.
His athleticism is on full display in high school as he used in a number of ways at quarterback, running back, receiver, cornerback, safety, and in the return game.
He could still see some time on offense when he arrives in Oxford, who knows? But Partridge and Durkin are going to fight tooth and nail to keep his playmaking ability on their side of the ball to combat the wide open offenses and big target receivers in the SEC.