SAN ANTONIO — Isaac Taylor-Stuart has Georgia and Alabama in his top five, so either way, he can’t lose when the teams play Monday in the national championship.
“I’ll just be watching it for fun and the experience,” said Taylor-Stuart, who was a first-team American Family Insurance ALL-USA defensive player. “Whoever wins, that will be great for them, but it’s not going to affect my decision because both of them are great teams and they got to that point for a reason.”
Not surprisingly, considering their success this year, Georgia and Alabama have a lot of commits and signees here for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Georgia has nine on the roster who have already signed or committed and the Tide has four. There are also 21 uncommitted players on the game’s roster, including several who have both SEC schools on the roster.
Taylor-Stuart is also looking at Texas A&M, Southern Cal and Tennessee. One might think that the Helix (La Mesa, Calif.) defensive back might be inclined to stay close to home, giving USC an edge, but the Southeastern Conference has a strong pull for Taylor-Stuart, who is nursing an ankle injury but still expected to play in Saturday’s Army Bowl.
“There are a whole bunch of great players and great teams in the SEC,” Taylor-Stuart said. “It’s one of the most competitive and experienced conferences. All of the coaches on all of the teams there are serious about winning.”
Pace Academy (Atlanta) offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer, a Georgia signee, is still holding out hope of scoring a ticket for the national championship, which will be held in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
“It was fun watching them win (over Oklahoma),” Salyer said. “It’s something new for us since I’ve been following them. I’m excited.”
Two of Salyer’s former Pace Academy teammates, offensive lineman Andrew Thomas and wide receiver Trey Blount, are freshmen at Georgia.
“They’re the only two on the team I know really well, so I was texting them, ‘If you’re going, get a ring.’ ”
Carterville, Ill., tight end Luke Ford, a Georgia commit, knows whom he’ll be rooting for.
“Georgia baby — Go Dawgs,” Ford said. He watched Georgia’s semifinal defeat of Oklahoma in San Antonio with a contingent of Oklahoma fans.
“It was crazy,” Ford said. “I was freaking out and watching with some OU fans and we were going back and forth, trash talking. It was a great game and it kept me on my toes.”
One of those OU fans was Westmoore (Moore, Okla.) offensive lineman Brey Walker, a Sooner signee who was also a first team American Family Insurance ALL-USA offensive player.
“I was feeling pretty good until it went into overtime again,” Walker said. “You can’t win all of them. I’m willing to go to make OU better and help them out, try to win a national title next year.”