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"The Unknown Soldier" - DE Devin Taylor (Don't Say Nuthin'!) Part I

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via img.spokeo.com

Before you say 'nuthin', first read the rest of the story...

South Carolina's Defensive Line coach Brad Lawing wanted to see what Devin Taylor could do while working out at the Gamecock's summer camp. "I remember recruiting him," Lawing said. "It was quite a challenge."

Lawing told a story about the recruitment process when Taylor first emerged into a starter, about working him out at the Gamecocks' summer camp. Lining up across from the spindly but tall high-schooler, Lawing instructed Taylor to come at him, like he was an opposing lineman with the quarterback behind him. Taylor nodded and charged when Lawing said, "Hut!"

"He was fired (up)," Lawing said in 2010. "He got after me. I knew right then he had that competitive nature."

Recruiter! Make Me Happy, Sort Of...

Lawing remembered back when he went to see Taylor as part of the recruitment process. Lawing prepared all the best pitch lines he could think of and thought the young man would be as excited as he was about the possibilities of joining the team as he was. Lawing brought his warm and cheery pitch only to be to met by Taylor's quiet stare, with no smile and no expression.

The 6-foot-6, 225-pound Taylor would choose South Carolina, and would eventually play in the same Williams-Brice Stadium that he played his last high school game in - a tough 23-14 defeat at the hands of Clover High in the State championship game. Taylor, who was named The Beaufort Gazette/Island Packet 2007 Defensive Player of the Year, had looked at going Wake Forest, N.C. State, Kentucky and Virginia Tech before selecting the Gamecocks.

Devin Taylor's High School Career...

Devin Taylor was born on November 15, 1989 in Beaufort (Lady's Island), South Carolina. Taylor lettered in three sports (football, basketball, and track). As a junior, Taylor recorded 80 tackles and 4 sacks. During his senior year, Taylor recorded 110 tackles with 10 sacks and 19 tackles for loss during his senior campaign, which was recognized with first-team All-State selections from The Associated Press and The State. Taylor's play was instrumental in helping his team get to the state championshion game that year. Taylor played on both sides of the ball at linebacker and on the offensive line at tightend. Taylor also won the 4AAAA state title in the triple jump with a leap of 48 feet 3 inches. His grade point average was 3.45/SAT 1030

The never-ending search for pass rushers for ACC and SEC schools had Taylor pop up on their radars and the tall(6'6 212 lbs) Taylor from Beaufort had drawn interst from a few of them. When asked in an interview with Ryan Bartow (TigersIllustrated.com) where he'd like to go to school, Taylor had this to say; "I'm looking for a program with good academics, the sport I play and a good environment." Devin Taylor was a busy young man that summer of 2007, getting offers coming in from many different schools;

"I got offers from Wake Forest, Duke, Furman and last week I got one from Virginia Tech," he said. "I was surprised by the Tech offer. I just started talking to them recently.

"They have a good football program. Virginia Tech is a very athletic team that competes and they've won something like 10 games a year since joining the ACC."

By the end of August, Taylor had added a couple of more schools to his list of favorites - His six favorite schools were South Carolina, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Duke, Presbyterian and Citadel. Taylor would go on to play in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas that late fall with plenty of scouts on the heels of the Beaufort standout. During the practices, Taylor was one of the top performers on the South Carolina squad, impressing scouts with his athletic frame and ability to move in space. Jonathan Jolley of GamecockAnthem.com caught up with Taylor following a recent practice, and he talked about the Shrine Bowl experience as well as updating the latest in his recruitment.

The tall and athletic defensive end made a strong showing on the first day of practice at the Shrine Bowl (Charlotte, North Carolina), deflecting passes with his 7-foot wingspan, and dragging down ballcarriers behind the line of scrimmage and it is clear that he has enjoyed getting back on the football field. Though many wanted to see Beaufort's Devin Taylor playing tight end, the intriguing prospect played exclusively at defensive end in the state championship game and had a solid outing.

"It was good," he said of the first day of practice. "I got a feel for hitting and stuff again and getting the pads on. I'm starting to learn new stuff like how they run their defense and stuff."

"I was pretty excited just to see people in upper state like North Carolina. I like to see how it differs from here."

Taylor's South Carolina team is running a 3-4 defense that has placed Taylor as an outside linebacker, often rushing the passer. Early on he has excelled at his spot. Taylor's raw talent and upside potential leaves plenty of room for optimism to whoever signs him.

"I'm going to go to either South Carolina, Wake Forest, Kentucky and Virginia Tech," he said. "They're all even."

While he has taken visits to South Carolina, Wake Forest and Kentucky, he has planned his visit to Virginia Tech to close out the circuit. The trip is scheduled for January 18th.

Taylor mulled over all the offers and finally committed to South Carolina on February 4, 2008 news conference:

Devin Taylor (6-6 220) of Beaufort committed Monday afternoon to USC. Taylor announced his decision at a news conference at his school. He picked the Gamecocks over Virginia Tech and Duke. "I just got a good feeling being around their players and coaches," Taylor said. "Coach (Shane) Beamer is a good recruiter. He did a good job filling me in on everything that was going on."

Devin Taylor - The Class of 2008...

Taylor starts off his college career as a true redshirt freshman, majoring in; Integrated Information Technology. Taylor would set out the 2008 year to get more aclamated to the Gamecock's program while getting down with his studies. The defense was congested at the defensive end position with Cliff Matthews, Byron McNight, Gordin Lindsay, and Clifton Geathers. Devin Taylor would get his first start to begin the 2009 season against NC St., coming off the suspension of starting DE Clifton Geathers. Geathers was arrested by Columbia police officers for a fight that broke out out side a nightclub. Geathers was charged with public drunkenness, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

With Ajiboye already out, losing Geathers for the Sept. 3 opener at North Carolina State -- and perhaps Sept. 12 at Georgia -- would leave the Gamecocks short-handed on the line, an expected strength for South Carolina this season. Should Geathers miss time, Spurrier said 232-pound redshirt freshman Devin Taylor would get a shot to play. Taylor said players were shocked when they learned of Geathers' arrest. However, Spurrier and defensive line Brad Lawing "told us all we've got to step up," Taylor said.

We'll be back tomorrow to finish up the Devin taylor "Unkown Soldier" Devin (Don't Say Nuthin') Taylor addition. I hope you enjoyed Part I...

Sources For materials...

Devin Taylor holds four offers

Taylor sets final visit, decision nearing

http://rivals.yahoo.com/scvarsity/football/recruiting/player-Devin-Taylor-6431

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devin_Taylor

http://www.gamecocksonline.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/taylor_devin00.html

This is a Fan-Created Comment on MileHighReport.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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