ESPN 150 honor jolts ATH Greg Taboada

Although he was born in Atlanta, Greg Taboada (Atlanta/Marist) grew up in a household heavily influenced by Spanish culture, thanks to both his parents being natives of Spain. Soccer was the game of choice, although his brother Ignacio would go on to play tennis at the University of Georgia. Greg also enjoyed playing both sports, and seemed headed for a similar future before his arrival at Marist.

That's when a new sport took over.

“Soccer and tennis helped my agility and footwork, but I have been blessed with size and athleticism, so I started playing football at Marist, and it has worked out well,” Taboada said.

Ranked No. 107 in today's release of the latest ESPN 150, Taboada has been admittedly caught off guard by just how good his foray into football has been.

“I never expected to be an ESPN 150 player,” Taboada said. “I thought I would have to walk on somewhere and hopefully earn a scholarship down the road. Obviously that has changed, so I am just fortunate. It is a privilege to be named in the ESPN 150, and it is a different feeling because I have never really been a big football guy.”

Last season did not start out well for the 6-foot-4, 235-pound prospect, as he tore his hamstring before fall camp started. He admits he was not able to push through it until the third game of the season. He sent out his highlight tape at the conclusion of his basketball season earlier this year, and then things just exploded.

Offers from Western Kentucky, Boston College, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Virginia, Vanderbilt, Oregon, Arkansas, South Carolina, FSU and Duke have come in. Taboada camped at Alabama on Tuesday, and on June 22 he will travel out to check out Stanford, and possibly stop in at Oregon as well. Georgia has been showing interest as well.

“Coach [Rodney] Garner has been in contact, and I have heard it is between me and some other guy for an offer,” Taboada said. “I might have to come to camp to earn it.

Most of Taboada’s plays as a junior came on defense at either linebacker or tight end, although he also made several key blocks at tight end. This year he hopes to be a bigger part of the offense, and earn the chance to stay on offense at the next level. Either way, he has several options when it comes to playing in college football, a game that is starting to grow on him.

“I like how explosive and fast football is,” Taboada said. “You know your assignment before the play, so it is just about going as hard as you can. It is just a fun game.”