Frankie Taylor was well aware that, in the volleyball recruiting world, defensive specialists often finish last.
Taylor, a 5-foot-8 Marian Central senior, reached the end of the whirlwind recruiting process last week. Taylor committed to Illinois State University and will join the Redbirds’ roster next fall on a partial athletic scholarship.
Taylor also was considering DePaul, Northern Alabama, Robert Morris University in Chicago and Louisiana State University, where she thought about playing beach volleyball.
“It was very hard,” Taylor said. “I had a few offers on the table along the way and I kept feeling like I needed to (commit). But my mom kept telling me not to go somewhere because of the money. If I got hurt, (volleyball) might not be there anymore, and I needed to go somewhere that felt right.”
As soon as Taylor visited ISU, it felt right. She’s had positive experiences there as a high school player, too. Taylor helped lead Marian to a second-place finish in the 2011 Class 3A state finals, hosted each year at ISU’s Redbird Arena.
Taylor is a defensive specialist for her Sky High club team and was an outside hitter at Marian. Having both sets of skills has made Taylor feel well-rounded – she even tried a short stint at setter as a junior – but she still prefers the back row, where she’ll play at ISU.
Taylor had a particularly proficient senior campaign, leading Marian to a berth in a Class 3A supersectional and earning a spot on the Northwest Herald All-Area first team. She finished the season with 294 kills, 331 digs and 45 aces.
Taylor plans to major in business marketing at ISU and will report to Normal for summer classes on June 2.
“It is very cool that Frankie made the decision to go to ISU,” Marian coach Laura Watling said. “(Defensive specialists) always go last, and even though she had the ability to be a hitter (in college), I know she wanted to be a DS. I’m really happy for her, and I’m happy she’s still playing around here so I can see her play.”
ISU was 19-13 overall and 12-8 in the Missouri Valley Conference in 2013. Former Cary-Grove outside hitter Ashley Rosch and former Harvard outside hitter Ashleigh Fisher also play for the Redbirds.