Greg Taylor, left, and Rashad Canty signed scholarships during National Signing Day. The pair started out going to Pre-K and traveled through the Clayton County School system together. (Staff Photo: Heather Middleton)
RIVERDALE — Greg Taylor walked into the Riverdale High School media center on Wednesday morning with every intention of signing a letter-of-intent with Paine College in Augusta.
Then a call came to the coaches from Bethune-Cookman and North Carolina Central. All of a sudden, Taylor was thrust back into the recruiting process on a short notice.
With no visit to either school, the former Riverdale quarterback immediately took to the Internet to find as much information about the two NCAA Div. I Football Championship Subdivision schools that play in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
After doing some brief research, the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder decided to sign with Bethune-Cookman, the MEAC champions.
“I was definitely surprised when I found out this morning about those two offers,” Taylor said. “I just give the credit to the man above. Miracles do happen. It has truly been a blessing.”
Riverdale coaches frantically worked the phones and the Internet the last few weeks trying to land Taylor a bigger offer than Division II Paine.
It seemed to have paid off.
“I’m so excited about this for Greg, because he has worked so hard,” said Drew assistant principal William Silvera, a former counselor at Riverdale.
Taylor was having a breakout season before an ACL injury sidelined him for five games. He returned in the ninth game of the season with a heavily wrapped knee. Taylor passed for 1,093 yards and 11 touchdowns with only two interceptions. He had surgery on his knee in early December, and said the rehab is ahead of schedule.
“He essentially signed where he was supposed to be,” Silvera said. “Greg was the heart and soul of that Riverdale team.”
There were five other players on the Riverdale team that signed scholarships at Wednesday’s National Signing Day ceremonies at the school.
The only Football Bowl Subdivision signee was Rashad Canty, a three-star prospect who signed with Vanderbilt. Other FCS signees included Chinedu Okonya with Furman and Trey Sanders with Campbell.
Duvall Allen signed with Ellsworth Community College in Iowa while Isaiah Gilliard signed with Hutchinson Community College in Kansas.
There are several more Riverdale players that are expected to sign in the coming weeks, including all-region defensive back Isa Muhammed, who had been committed to Kennesaw State, which will start playing football during the 2015 season.
While Taylor won’t get his shot at bigtime college football, he said he is satisfied with his choice of Bethune-Cookman.
“It is a great opportunity for a good education,” said Canty, who has a 3.4 grade-point average. “At some point you will not be able to play football anymore, but you will always have that degree. I think a degree from Bethune-Cookman will get me far.”