Taylor Pannell has been a frequent blogger for Extra Inning Softball over the past two years and has covered such topics as winning a PGF National Championship to the Importance of Role Models (and how others feel she is one).
An outstanding infielder, the junior from Milan, Illinois, had an amazing 2019… from being ranked as one of the Top 10 players in the 2022 Extra Elite 100 to being a 1st Team Extra Inning Softball All-American to being named to the PGF Premier All-Tournament Teams .
We first got to meet the standout infielder in an Extra Star Power feature that we published in March, 2018, shortly after she committed to Auburn in January of 2018 while in the 8th grade (before the Early Recruiting Rules were implemented in April of that year).
In her latest Inside Pitch, Taylor explains why she opened up her recruiting again even though she doesn’t know what the future holds come this September when coaches can begin reaching out to her again…
I am Taylor Pannell a 2022 uncommitted player on Tennessee Mojo 04 - Fisher. This past year I had highs of winning 14U PGF Nationals and lows of decommitting from Auburn University.
But that has made me the player and person I am today.
The reason I decommitted from Auburn University was because I wanted to make sure it was the right place for me.
I had to make a decision that would affect the rest of my life in a span of a couple months. I felt at times I was rushed to make this decision because I knew the recruiting rule was changing. The new rule is that players cannot have contact with college coaches until September 1st of their junior year.
Everyone at that time was rushing to commit. There were so many players committing within the span of a couple months. It is crazy to think that I was in 7th and 8th grade deciding where I was going to college!
When I committed, all my classmates thought it was crazy or did not believe it was real. I loved Auburn but with the assistant coaches and player changes, I wanted to make sure I was making the right decision.
With all the players going into the transfer portal, this has had an effect on me because this college freshman class this year will be seniors my freshman year and maybe be my future teammates. Joining Mojo last year was the best decision ever, but I had to leave teammates and friends behind.
That’s why this decision where I go to college is very important to me, I need to make the right decision and being able to sit back this year to see where the players are leaving from, going to and where future commits are going to also will help me with my decision.
I felt it would benefit my recruiting process to wait and see what happens this season. Hopefully it will help me find a place that fits me the best for academics and athletics because the college I choose will set me up for my future path in life.
The recruiting process this time will be completely different; last time, it went by really fast because I fell in love with Auburn’s campus, but over the last few years I had begun to second-guess my decision.
This time I am able to take my time. I am exploring more colleges in more depth. It’s been harder this time because I am not able to have contact with the college coaches—I can email them all I want but they cannot respond back.
It’s been different not knowing where the coaches stand with recruiting. I’m just waiting until September 1st to see what my future holds.
This time I’m going to pay attention to the little things and the relationships of future teammates; one thing I really value are my teammates, they are very important to me as a player.
The difference I feel by me making a decision as a 7th or 8th grader versus me being a high school student now is that I’m able to make a more grown-up decision on my future rather than only a softball decision.
I’m excited to see what my future holds!
--- Taylor Pannell