Ivan Taylor, Wolverine

Ivan Taylor, Wolverine

July 11, 2024
Winter Garden (FL) West Orange safety Ivan Taylor (image via Orange Observer)

Winter Garden (FL) West Orange safety Ivan Taylor flipped from Notre Dame to Michigan.

Taylor is listed at 6’0″ and 174 pounds. As a junior in 2023, he made 45 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 4 forced fumbles, and 1 pass breakup.

ESPN: 4-star, 85 grade, #5 S, #41 overall
On3: 4-star, 92 grade, #14 S, #132 overall
Rivals: 4-star, 5.9 grade, #11 S, #102 overall
247 Sports: 4-star, 94 grade, #2 S, #41 overall

Hit the jump for more.

Ivan is the son of former Louisiana-Lafayette cornerback Ike Taylor, who (according to Wikipedia) walked on at Louisiana-Lafayette, played some running back, and then switched to cornerback for his senior year. He made 46 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, and 8 pass breakups before being drafted by the Steelers in the 4th round (#125 overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft. He went on to play twelve seasons for the Steelers, totaling 636 tackles, 14 interceptions, and 134 pass breakups while winning two Super Bowls. (Side note: While researching Ike, I came across this article, which called him the Steelers’ “worst draft pick ever.” Yikes.)

Anyway, Ivan was originally committed to Notre Dame on December 1, 2023, but the Fighting Irish went on to secure the commitments of three more safeties. Meanwhile, Michigan defensive backs coach Lamar Morgan – who played at Louisiana-Lafayette immediately after Ike Taylor left – went on the offensive when hired, going hard after the younger Taylor. With Michigan’s heavy pursuit combined with the Irish’s overflowing safety class, the Wolverines were able to snag a commitment on July 8.

Ivan plays the role of field safety for West Orange, so he almost always aligns to the wide side of the field; that’s usually where a team will play its most athletic, best defensive back. Not only do they have to cover a lot of ground in the passing game, but they need to fit into the run as well. Ivan has decent size and will probably get up to 190-ish pounds in college. He has some good change-of-direction skills, and with the right training, I think he could probably play cornerback at the next level. He’s physical against the run and the pass, showing a willingness to stick his nose into tackling and to go up and fight for the ball. He has a smooth backpedal and can flip his hips; Michigan could use his skills to disguise coverages and confuse opposing offenses.

On the negative side, I would like to see him trigger a little quicker against the run and play with a little more urgency. There are also times where he seems to misjudge deep balls. As a player who might be 5’11” or so, I would like to see him get on top of routes a little more rather than counting on being a superior athlete. When he gets to college, he will encounter some guys who are 6’3″ or 6’4″ and won’t be able to play as effectively from a trail position.

Overall, Taylor is a good prospect whom I think might be a little overrated as a top-50-ish player, but he can be a quality college player. He gives me some strong Rod Moore-type vibes due to their similar size and mentality, but Moore was ready to hit the ground running when he got to college; he was ready to support the run and had good coverage qualities. I’m curious to see how much Taylor advances during his senior year. Also like Moore, I could see Taylor getting a shot to play cornerback or nickel, but he’s probably a free safety when all is said and done.

Michigan now has two safeties in the 2025 class, where Taylor joins Kainoa Winston (LINK). The last player the Wolverines landed from West Orange was wide receiver Eddie McDoom in the class of 2016.

TTB Rating: 81

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