STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — If Penn State took the field for a game this Saturday it would be Nick Scott and Garrett Taylor lining up at the starting safety spots, James Franklin said Wednesday night.
“We feel very good about Nick. I think Garrett has kind of separated himself from the pack,” Franklin said. “Ayron Monroe is missing some reps right now during the spring, so he’s not really factoring in right now.
“And I think there’s really good competition with that next group of guys including Lamont [Wade], Isaiah [Humphries], [Jonathan] Sutherland; as you guys know we’ve had a man crush on Sutherland since he got here,” Franklin continued. “With his approach and his demeanor, every play for him is the Super Bowl. It really is. Walk-throughs, jog-throughs, install periods, he is locked in. And we love him. So I think all those guys are going to play.”
Penn State won’t declare a winner of the position battle until camp, but Taylor arrived at Penn State as a 4-star cornerback whose recruiting pedigree mirrored that of John Reid. The difference was — at least initially — that Taylor was recovering from a knee injury sustained his senior year of high school and then underwent a position switch. Reid and Taylor we both part of the 2015 recruiting class and had only Saquon Barkley ranked ahead of them in the 247Sports composite rankings.
Garrett Taylor and Nick Scott would be the safeties if the season started today, Franklin said. What’s impressed John Reid about Taylor, his classmate from back in 2015? pic.twitter.com/VfrQz0peP0
— Audrey Snyder (@audsnyder4) April 5, 2018
While Wade underwent the position switch from corner to safety this winter in an effort to help fill an area of need after both Marcus Allen and Troy Apke left, Taylor has stayed upbeat during the last several years despite his primary contributions coming on special teams.
Reid said Taylor has always pushed him whether they’re running hills in the summer or out on the field.