Just two weeks before national signing day, Taylor Lamb has called an audible. After being committed to South Alabama for more than six months, Calhoun High School's two-time all-state quarterback has decided to sign instead with Appalachian State.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Lamb made the decision after taking an official visit to the Boone, N.C., campus last weekend.
"Growing up, I watched them win a lot of games and championships, and I just decided that's something I want to be a part of," said Lamb, whose father used to be Furman's coach in the Southern Conference with ASU. "I fell in love with the campus.
"It's a small town, like Calhoun, and everybody loves the program, and I really liked that support and just everything about the experience. I know about the game-day atmosphere, too, so it really has everything I'm looking for."
Lamb also liked the Mountaineers' style of play.
"App State wants to throw it around a lot out of the spread, and that fits me perfectly," he said. "Their quarterback now is a senior, so I could earn early playing time or be ready in a year.
"I respect South Alabama and their staff, and it was tough to call them and tell them that I was even going to take a visit to another school, because we've had a good relationship for so long. But I just felt like I needed to make other visits to make sure I was making the right choice, and once I went to Appalachian State, I knew I had to go there instead."
Lamb's father, Bobby, now is the head coach at Mercer University. Bobby's brother Hal Lamb is Calhoun's coach, and Taylor helped his Yellow Jackets reach back-to-back Georgia Class AA state finals. Calhoun won its first state title his junior year, and last season he was named the state's Gatorade player of the year after completing 67 percent of his passes for 3,498 yards and 36 touchdowns.
Hal Lamb said Southern Mississippi and Arkansas State had made recent pushes to try to sway his nephew's commitment. However, the combination of past success and the chance to earn early playing time helped in the final choice of Appalachian State, which has interest in moving up to the NCAA's top level in the near future.
"We talked about that some while I was on my visit, and they're looking into it," Lamb said. "I'm fine either way. If we move up I hope to help get the program to its first bowl game, or if we stay where we are I'm good with going to the playoffs and trying to win a championship.
"I had thought about playing for my dad, too, but really this came down to where I felt like I would fit in best and be happiest, and I really believe App State is where I belong."