SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - T.J. Taylor, Rutgers linebacker and South Brunswick High School alumnus, appears to be recovering ahead of schedule for what appeared to be a season-ending ACL tear.
The highly recruited star of the state championship Vikings of 2012, had accidently become entangled with another defensive player on April 13, and the final result was orthopedic surgery in May that was expected to sideline him for the entire 2015 Big Ten campaign.
When questioned about the status of the linebacker’s injury at the college’s annual Media Day on Sunday, Coach Kyle Flood said little about Taylor’s prognosis or return to the team.
“I’m going to put out an injury report (Monday) before the scrimmage,” Flood said during the news conference.
According to the official report, Taylor was listed as “lower body-out.”
On Tuesday morning, Associate Director of Athletic Communication Jimmy Gill said that Taylor “would be out indefinitely.”
Taylor, the 6’3” 205 pound sophomore, said he is hoping to return to the field soon and believes his recovery is proceeding ahead of schedule.
“(My) daily routine of two workouts and one session of physical therapy is very encouraging,” Taylor said during Sunday’s Media Day. “Everybody is encouraged and I feel that every days leads to more progress and hope.”
Taylor went on to say that the team doctors will re-evaluate the injury six months after the surgery and he is “very hopeful” that he will get the go ahead to play.
“This is my dream,” he said. “Everyone who knows me and my game is really behind me.”
Taylor said he spoke to Cincinnati Bengals star and former South Brunswick teammate Mohamad Sanu last Friday night, immediately after the team had beaten the New York Giants.
Sanu contributed the opening touchdown in that pre-season match up.
Taylor said he is also encouraged by the thought of two South Brunswick seniors, Mo Jabbie and Phil Campbell, who have also committed to joining the Rutgers team next year.
On Sunday, Flood called this year’s team “challenging, and very rewarding.”
Flood said he expects many changes in this year’s team due to the loss of veteran quarterback Gary Nova and other contributing players that graduated after last year’s rookie season in the Big Ten Conference.
Another South Brunswick alumnus, Bryan Stonkus, will be a long snapper for the Scarlet Knights who open the season on Sept. 5, against Norfolk State, at Highpoint Solutions Stadium at the Piscataway campus.