Georgia redshirt freshman John Taylor, considered a leading candidate at the nose guard position, is working strictly at defensive end now, he said Friday.
The 6-foot-4 Taylor said he’s in the 325-to-330-pound range. He’s working behind Garrison Smith.
He said defensive coordinator Todd Grantham came to him before spring practices about wanting him to learn end. Grantham told reporters prior to spring practice that Taylor and John Atkins were “multiple guys” that could play end or nose.
“Coaches thought it was the best fit for me,” Taylor said of playing end. “We’ve got a lot of nose guards coming in. We’re going to need some people on the outside. Coach said he moved me here so I can make some plays.”
Mike Thornton, who is 6-foot-1 and 289 pounds, is holding down the first-team nose guard spot with 6-4, 315-pound junior college transfer Chris Mayes behind him, but Thornton estimates that the Bulldogs played nickel defense—not the base 3-4—about 70 percent of the time last season. Thornton can play nose or end.
Georgia also signed junior college defensive lineman Toby Johnson and Newnan defensive tackle De’Andre Johnson.
Taylor said playing end is a big adjustment because his mindset was that he would play the nose but he sees the ability to make plays at end as a pass-rusher that fits his skill set.
“I’m getting adjusted to end,” The Jenkins County product aid.
Here’s a little one-on-one interview I had with cornerback Damian Swann talking about the secondary and the defense before the second scrimmage of the spring on Saturday.