For much of the day on July 16, Taylor Groves was on the phone talking with coaches. Groves, whose commitment had been a slow burn up to that point, took off.
In a 24-hour span the 6-foot-2 receiver out of Cross Plains, Tennessee received scholarship offers from LSU, Vanderbilt, Kansas and Virginia Tech.
"It's been wild, LSU being the defending champions was a really big offer for me, Vanderbilt being just down the road, a great education," Groves said. "That offense last year was just so explosive and feels like one that I could fit in. It's been amazing and I've enjoyed every minute of it."
In addition to LSU and the Commodores, Groves has received offers from Tennessee, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Arkansas in the SEC alone.
Groves said the LSU offer came from coach Ed Orgeron himself, who had heard about Groves through one of his trainers, watched his film and came away impressed with the skills the East Robertson High School product possesses.
"He told me I'm a deep ball threat, I'm a big receiver, long, athletic and I can go get it," Groves said. "He's a great coach, a great recruiter and one of the best in the country. He's somebody that guys love to play for. We're going to stay in contact and I'm going to try and get the receivers coach on the phone as well and build that relationship with him."
As it pertains to his game, in addition to being that deep ball threat, Groves thinks his 4.38 40-yard dash time proves that his speed on the field is second to none. In his sophomore season, Groves, who plays both sides of the ball, went for 850 yards and around eight touchdowns while recording well over 60 tackles and nine interceptions as a safety.
While most schools are recruiting him as a receiver, Groves says playing both sides of the ball helps him on offense.
"I know what I would do in different scenarios and situations. Stance of the defensive player is a big thing I analyze at the line of scrimmage, how a guy is lined up," Groves said. "I also try and look off the defender with my eyes, looking one way and moving different directions to try and throw him off. Beating guys down the field and just going up and grabbing the ball at its highest point are two strengths of mine and it's my speed that allows me to do both."
There's no denying that Groves has the physical tools to become a stout receiver. But the rising junior wants to make sure he's improving in the right areas of his game and one big one is improving as a route runner.
At 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, there is also room to improve from a strength perspective as well, as he's put on 15 pounds since his freshman year and trying to get even bigger before the 2020 season starts.
"I've become a better route runner over this past offseason and one thing I've really tried to put a focus on," Groves said. "I want to be able to run every route on the tree so I'll do different cone drills, work on being more flexible with my hips through a bunch of different exercises."
Groves actually works out with a few fellow LSU targets out of the 2022 class in outside linebacker Keaten Wade and offensive tackle Fisher Anderson. Like Groves, Wade and Anderson are two of the top prospects at their respective positions in Tennessee.
For all three, it's nice to have that interaction as they all know what the recruitment process is like and what the others are going through.
"We've all talked about playing together in college," Groves said. "We sit down and we talk about the process and just what it's been like. It's always good to bounce ideas off of those guys so it's been real good having those guys around."
Groves was able to watch a lot of LSU football in 2019 and was blown away by Ja'Marr Chase in particular.
"I've definitely tried to copy some of the things he does and add them to my own arsenal," Groves said. "The different releases he uses to break away from man coverage. Just his change of speed and how he uses his body to really break away from the defensive backs. The way they slung it around last year was just incredible."
LSU is one of the schools that's firmly in Groves' mind as he'd love to get down for a visit once the recruiting dead period is over just to see what the campus and facilities are like for himself.
"That's one school I could definitely see myself playing at in the future," Groves said. "Maybe I'll get a chance to go down there and visit but if not, it's an amazing school and one that has caught my eye for sure."