Redshirt freshman running back Justin Taylor has asked for and been granted his release from Kentucky, a UK spokesman confirmed Monday afternoon. He's expected to transfer.
Taylor, a 5-foot-10, 217-pound tailback, originally committed to play at Alabama and expected to sign there with the class of 2012. But when the Crimson Tide asked him to greyshirt after suffering a torn ACL in his right knee in the first game of his senior season in 2011.
Taylor is the first player to ask for his release to transfer since head coach Mark Stoops was hired.
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Rumors indicated that Taylor might be headed to South Carolina State. South Carolina State athletics spokesman Bill Hamilton told CatsIllustrated.com there were no transfers to announce as of Monday afternoon, and due to NCAA rules he couldn't comment on any players who hadn't officially joined the school.
Following spring practice, Stoops indicated that Taylor "had work to do" to catch up to some running backs listed ahead of him. Senior Raymond Sanders, sophomore Josh Clemons, senior Jonathan George and sophomore Dyshawn Mobley, who also signed with UK in 2012, all appeared to be ahead of Taylor. Two more running backs, Jojo Kemp and Khalid Thomas, signed with Kentucky in February.
Former head coach Joker Phillips indicated during fall camp that Taylor might have earned a chance to play, but he ended up redshirting. Taylor will leave Lexington without ever playing in a game for the Wildcats.
He had four carries for nine yards and one catch for eight yards in the Blue/White game on April 13.