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Alontae Taylor accepts invite to the Senior Bowl

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Ahead of Tennessee’s regular season finale against Vanderbilt, senior defensive back Alontae Taylor has accepted an invite to the Reese’s Senior Bowl. The four-year starter at cornerback now has a chance to further prove himself, participating in the premier all-star game ahead of the NFL Draft.

The announcement confirms Taylor’s intentions to forgo his extra ‘Covid-year’ and enter the 2022 draft. The Senior Bowl made the announcement on Wednesday morning.

Taylor ended up sticking with Tennessee through the infamous coaching change of 2017, signing with the Volunteers as a four-star athlete. Out of pure necessity, Jeremy Pruitt converted Taylor to cornerback, where he would stick for the next four seasons. In year one under Josh Heupel, Taylor has become an unquestioned leader on the team.

ESPN Draft analyst Mel Kiper ranks Taylor 12th among cornerbacks in the class, currently.

The 6-0, 195 pound defensive back will have a chance to meet with NFL teams in person throughout Senior Bowl week, while participating in individual drills during daily practices. Recently, we’ve seen Josh Palmer, Trey Smith, Jauan Jennings and Darrell Taylor participate in the event.

Taylor now has four career interceptions and 14 pass deflections. He also has 156 career tackles. Taylor delivered one of the biggest plays of the season for Tennessee this year — a pick six against Kentucky that ended up being the difference in the win.

With Taylor now exiting the picture, Tennessee will likely turn to Warren Burrell, Kamal Hadden and Brandon Turnage next season. You can probably expect an addition out of the transfer portal as well.

The Senior Bowl is set for February 5th in Mobile, Alabama. NFL Network will carry the action, along with several hours of practice coverage throughout the week.