Taylor Upshaw, Wolverine

Taylor Upshaw, Wolverine

November 25, 2017

Taylor Upshaw (image via Twitter)

Bradenton (FL) Braden River defensive end Taylor Upshaw committed to Michigan on Friday. He flipped his commitment from Florida – which is going through a coaching change – and picked the Wolverines over Arizona, Cal, Clemson, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pitt, Tennessee, UCF, USF, and Wisconsin, among others. Normally I wouldn’t include Cal in a list of noteworthy offers, but that’s where his father – NFL veteran defensive end Regan Upshaw – played his college ball.

Taylor is 6’5″, 240 lbs. He claims a 4.93 forty, a 30″ vertical, a 310 lb. bench, a 510 lb. squat, and a 300 lb. power clean.

ESPN: 3-star, 78 grade, #65 DE
Rivals: 3-star, #24 SDE
247 Sports: 3-star, 86 grade, #33 SDE

Hit the jump for more on his commitment.

Michigan has sent out a couple offers at Braden River over the past couple years, but nothing had been reported on any kind of developing relationship until Upshaw was offered in late October. The coaching staff may have been smelling blood in the water with Florida’s up-in-the-air coaching situation – Upshaw committed in June to shark-loving Jim McElwain, who has since been relieved of his duties. Things progressed quickly, Upshaw immediately scheduled his official visit, and he committed on the day of his arrival.

Upshaw has a large frame – he’s listed at 6’4″ or 6’5″, as well as 240-245 lbs. That includes a fairly thick lower body with long legs and plenty of room to grow in his upper body. The #1 thing that stands out about him is the use of his hands, which may be attributable to the fact that his dad was an NFL pass rusher. He uses a nice chop move to knock blockers off balance, and he locks out blockers well. He has decent straight-line speed.

Otherwise, I expected more from an NFLer’s son. Upshaw is a little slow and tentative out of his stance. He stands up too high and is a little stiff-legged. He does not play with a sense of urgency and seems to be a split second slow to react. He also does not run through tackles, instead leaving his feet to swing ball carriers to the ground. He’s somewhat of a finesse player when he should be dominant with his size and relative athleticism.

Overall, I’m somewhat indifferent on Upshaw’s commitment. He will get top-notch coaching at Michigan from Don Brown and Greg Mattison, who have turned non-scholarship players like Ryan Glasgow into quality players. But of all the scholarship guys currently on the roster, Upshaw probably has the least impressive film. He reminds me of former Michigan defensive end/defensive tackle Greg Banks. Banks was a 2005 signee who started 9 games (all as a fifth year senior in 2009), making 56 tackles, 8.5 tackles, 3 sacks, and 2 pass breakups throughout his career.

Michigan now has 16 commitments for the 2018 class. Upshaw plans to enroll early, so he should arrive at Michigan in January. The Wolverines only have one other defensive lineman in this class (DE Aidan Hutchinson), and I think Upshaw will end up as one of those guys who can play strongside end or 3-tech defensive tackle as he grows. He is the third commitment from the state of Florida in 2018, joining cornerback/safety Sammy Faustin and quarterback Joe Milton.

TTB Rating: 62 (ratings explanation)


  1. Avatar
    Comments: 66
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Nov 25, 2017 at 11:17 AM

    Several people have mentioned that this is only his second year playing football, so that could explain his hesitance/slowness to react. He seems to follow a trend of this recruiting class: Guys who are more developmental prospects and won’t see the field for a few years. With the talent brought in with the 2016-2017 classes, the coaches seem to feel they have the luxury of taking more raw players rather than immediate impact.

    Only position they really need an instant impact guy is tackle and maybe DL, lets hope they can land someone like Petit-Frere.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 142
      Joined: 8/12/2015
      Nov 25, 2017 at 2:22 PM

      Yeah, should have been mentioned in the brief. He has only 2 yrs in football… that is insane if you think about it, getting major D1 college offers after hardly playing. Therefore in Harbaugh speak he is ascending.
      This kid won’t be an All American but get him up to 290 lbs or so and he will hold his own, clog in the machine, probably nothing more but in a Don Brown D possibly that will all he will be tasked to do.

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 528
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    Nov 25, 2017 at 11:19 AM

    For some reason I do remember Greg Banks and I thought he was exactly as you stated, meh. This guy has much better talent but he needs coaching. I can’t get your video to work but I was watching his film last night on hudl.

    He seems like he is waiting for the play to come to him. Taught to play containment football. I think he has potential to be developed but I agree that as a whole is looking to keep the play in front of him.

    Sort of like he knows the play is going up the gut and he is on the perimeter so what is the point of rushing hard. Needs coaching. I watched the film and he doesn’t seem to be afraid of physicality.

  3. Avatar
    Comments: 528
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    Nov 25, 2017 at 11:28 AM

    He is definitely a interior tackle. Has a good frame. Easily can put another 25 lbs on him within a couple of years. Maybe 40 lbs by the time he is a senior. Solid pickup.

  4. Avatar
    Comments: 267
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Nov 25, 2017 at 6:42 PM

    I just don’t see much on film. I don’t get this recruitment. As soon as I saw we offered him I looked at his film and said, “Yikes, I hope he stays in Florida”. If he was a 2019 or 2020 guy with his frame, maybe can see some more development. The fact he’s only played 2 years is even more reason NOT to offer him. He’s too raw. How many good/great football players ever pan out after only starting football after 2 years prior? The only one I can think of is Ziggy Ansah, and that could be because he’s actually 3 years older than originally thought.

    It’s not often I’m disappointed with a commitment but this is the 4th one in the this class. When you’re struggling to beat good teams the last thing you should be looking for in a small recruiting class is a project. At least for this program.

  5. Avatar
    Comments: 110
    Joined: 9/28/2015
    Nov 26, 2017 at 9:18 AM

    Great thoughts, Gentlemen! But, if this kid is lacking in so many areas, why so many offers from Big time programs?

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