According to a news release from the University of Richmond, Spiders head coach Latrell Scott has announced that former Georgia Tech safety Cooper Taylor has signed an athletic grant-in-aid to attend the school, and ultimately play football once again.
Following the Yellow Jackets' Week 6 home win over Virginia, Taylor informed Tech head coach Paul Johnson that he no longer wanted to play at the Institute. Attempts by The Telegraph to contact Taylor for reasons why, were unsuccessful.
What appeared to be at the heart of the matter could have been playing time. After becoming a stalwart member of the Tech defensive backfield in 2008, Taylor struggled to stay on the field this season thanks to a deep corps of safeties in the Jackets' new defensive scheme. Timing may have also been at play for Taylor, who missed all but three games in 2009 as he recuperated from surgery to fix a rare heart condition known as Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.
Recovery from the condition seemed steady, as he was right in the mix during the 2010 preseason to play once again. But when play resumed earlier this fall, he saw his playing time eventually diminish. In four games played, he had just five total tackles.
Taylor is expected to be eligible next season, and will be able to play the year after that. A redshirt sophomore entering this season, he earned a medical redshirt exemption this summer for the time he missed last year.
"Cooper will be a great addition to the University of Richmond both athletically and academically," Scott said in the news release. "He is a tremendous football player and we're excited to welcome him to the family."
Taylor began playing as a true freshman in 2008, when he appeared in all 13 games. He had three starts, finishing with 69 tackles and an interception. Those 69 tackles were second-most on the team that year.
No moment better defined his breakthrough season than the chilly October night when he and fellow freshman Rashad Reid teamed up to preserve a Georgia Tech win over Florida State during a crucial goal line stand. With the Seminoles threatening to score a potentially game-winning touchdown with mere seconds remaining, Taylor put his helmet on the football as a Florida State running back began to dive toward the goal line. The ball came free and Reid fell on it in the end zone to cap the dramatic home win.
A Marist School alum, Taylor was an Atlanta-area native and the son of Jim Bob Taylor, a former Georgia Tech player, himself. The safety, who played an experimental linebacker/safety position last season, is now listed at 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, according to Richmond.
The Spiders were 6-5 in this, Scott's inaugural season at Richmond. It marked the first time in three years that the 2008 FCS national champion program had missed the FCS playoffs.
Taylor's departure from Tech was the only loss the Jackets had of player personnel during the season, but it came on the heels of quarterback Jordan Luallen's departure at the end of preseason camp. Backup quarterback Jaybo Shaw also was among the more recognizable names that left during last offseason.