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Taylor Minnick's Heart Guides Her To Stay Home At Indiana

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Everything fell into place for Taylor Minnick to make her dream school a reality. Despite living in Bloomington, Ind., Minnick fell in love with the University of Tennessee when her recruiting process first started. Thanks to her grandparents living in the state, she was provided the opportunity to go to camps there. Minnick’s connections paid off. In eighth grade, Karen and Ralph Weekly’s program offered her a scholarship and she later committed.

Things changed, though. As much as the Vols were Minnick’s dream, COVID-19 complicated her choice. Family is an important aspect to her. She wanted to have her loved ones able to attend her games. Minnick put more thought into travel and crowd attendance policies in a world full of uncertainty. In the end, Indiana and Shonda Stanton won over the hometown kid.

“I’d always say that Tennessee was my dream school to go to,” Minnick told Softball America in a phone interview. “I’ve always loved Tennessee and the campus, but I just feel like (Indiana) was a better fit at the end.”

Stanton’s four-player 2021 signing class that included Minnick was 75% in-state recruits. In just her second season in 2019, Stanton led the Hooisers to their first 30-win campaign since 2012. Tennessee’s rich history in softball attracts a lot of recruits, but there is also a lure about a coach trying to build up a program in your own backyard.

“I know Shonda is a really tough coach, she’ll tell you how it is,” Minnick said. “That’s the type of coaching staff I want. They’re going to make us the best that we can be... They’re getting better and better every year with this coaching staff. It’s going to be cool to be a part of the team and get where we want to be.”

Minnick is a multi-sport athlete at Bloomington’s Edgewood High School. Even when she’s playing basketball, she’ll receive good luck texts from the Indiana staff. Assistant coach Kendall Fearn has made the quick 15-minute drive from Indiana’s campus to Edgewood to see Minnick play. The little things helped Indiana land Edgewood’s record holder for batting average, hits and doubles.

"Taylor has had big moments on the travel ball scene and now she will have the opportunity to shine in her own backyard. We are glad she decided to stay home,” Stanton said in a statement. “She is a powerful lefty and clutch performer. Her confidence and proven success will contribute to her growth as an impact player.”

Minnick had a grandfather attend Indiana. Her mother also works in the university’s schools medicine program. There were always roots for her to be a Hooiser. When she finally put pen to paper, it felt incredible for one of Softball America’s Top 100 recruits in the 2021 class.

The long recruiting process is stressful for most. Minnick’s decision between a school down the street and another one over 300 miles away was far from easy. But, she followed her heart, which ultimately guided her to her destination.

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