National Signing Day: Springfield’s Leonard Taylor picks Cincinnati

  • Marcus Hartman
  • Staff Writer
2:50 p.m Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 Sports
Springfield’s Leonard Taylor runs against Centerville on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, at Evans Stadium in Springfield. David Jablonski/Staff

The long wait is over for Leonard Taylor.

The Springfield High School senior announced Wednesday he will play his college football at the University of Cincinnati.

He had released a final four of Cincinnati, Louisville, Kentucky and Texas A&M after making official visits to all four since mid-December.

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Taylor is a four-star prospect in the 247Sports Composite rankings and was the top uncommitted player in Ohio heading into National Signing Day.

He has been a highly-regarded prospect since early in his high school career and committed to Michigan in the spring of his sophomore year before rescinding that decision prior to his junior season.

He played quarterback and defensive line for the Wildcats last season but is rated as a tight end prospect for college.

“Coaches are telling me, ‘You can have your opportunity to play tight end and if that don’t work out you can flip and play defense if you want to,’ ” he said in January.

At that time, he also had good things to say about Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell and defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman, who played at Ohio State after graduating from Wayne.

“I just like Coach Freeman and Coach Fickell and also their tight ends coach (Mike Denbrock),” Taylor said. “He has Travis Kelce in the league (NFL) so he knows a little something about the tight ends.”

Fickell and Freeman have been busy in the Miami Valley.

They also signed Dunbar running back Tavion Thomas on Wednesday after signing Xenia receiver Meechi Harris, Franklin running back Ryan Montgomery and Fairfield defensive end Malik Vann in December.

UC’s 2017 recruiting class included Miamisburg offensive lineman Cody Lamb and Middletown kicker Cole Smith.

Aside from his football exploits, Taylor is a key player for the Springfield basketball team, averaging 12.9 points and 9.1 rebounds for the 15-3 Wildcats.

Taylor was set to sign his national letter of intent Wednesday at the school, but the signing ceremony had to be postponed to Thursday because of the snowstorm.

That also forced a Catholic Central standout to change his plans.

Jake Lyons bumped his signing ceremony back to 2 p.m. Thursday.

Lyons was a two-time All-Ohio Heritage Conference defensive end and made the district first team last season, when he was also a second-team All-Ohioan.

Lyons played in the Scout All-American Senior Bowl last month in Mobile, Alabama and plans to major in exercise science and coaching at his future college.