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Tennessee CB Alontae Taylor Declares For NFL Draft, Will Forego Bowl Game, As He Thanks Vols Fans

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Tennessee cornerback Alontae Taylor has officially declared for the NFL Draft and will sit out the Vols’ upcoming bowl game. The senior accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl, where he will be able to showcase his talents in front of NFL coaches and GMs. Taylor went through Senior Day activities during the Vols’ last home game against Vanderbilt and will look to get completely healthy before his training begins.

In his goodbye note, Taylor expressed his feelings for the Tennessee fan base.

“To Vol Nation, your support has been incredible, and there is truly no fan base in America as passionate as you. Your energy on game day is unmatched and I can’t thank you enough.”

The Vols cornerback had been dealing with a foot injury over the last few weeks of the season, so it was smart of him to take the time off to rehab the injury. Taylor recorded 60 tackles, one tackle for loss, six PBs and two interceptions, including a pick-six against Kentucky. He started all 12 games this season for the Vols, even while dealing with his foot problem.

Taylor will benefit greatly from playing in the Senior Bowl, given Tennessee has had numerous players be invited over the years, including Jauan Jennings, Josh Palmer and Trey Smith. All three players have now begun their NFL careers in dramatic fashion.

Draft experts have Alontae Taylor hovering around the 12th to 14th best cornerback for the upcoming draft, including ESPN’s Mel Kiper, who has him ranked twelfth.

Taylor played in 41 career games for Tennessee, recording 162 tackles, three forced fumbles and four interceptions.

He will be remembered as one of the Vols leaders who stuck with the program, despite the opportunity to leave this past off-season when Jeremy Pruitt was fired. After the loss to Florida back in September, Taylor gave a quote that summed up the mindset of the Vols football program under Josh Heupel.

“We won’t fall apart, let me start off with that. We are going to get closer as a team, we are going to watch film, and continue to build that bond. Come next week, we will handle that when it comes.

“One thing I will say is that we will not fall apart this year, and you can quote me on that,” added Taylor.

Safe to say, Taylor and his senior teammates will be remembered on Rocky Top for a long time.

Written by Trey Wallace

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