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Tracking the College Gridiron Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Tuesday, February 1, 2005

By Sammy Batten

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6'5" wideout embraces new sport with style


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Alex Taylor came to Southwest Guilford High School just over a year ago as a basketball player. He’ll leave sometime next spring with a college career in football awaiting him at East Carolina University.

Taylor is a 6-foot-5, 200-pound wide receiver who accepted a scholarship offer to join ECU’s recruiting Class of 2005 following an official visit to Greenville on Jan. 22-24. He selected the Pirates over a variety of small-school offers from the likes of Catawba, Elon, Indiana State, Lenoir-Rhyne, Indiana State and The Citadel.

The limited interest from major college programs is no doubt due to the fact that Taylor played just one season of high school football. Basketball was Taylor’s sport and it was one reason he transferred from Bishop McGuiness High School in Kernersville to Southwest Guilford for his junior year.

Moving to a new school was business as usual for Taylor. His mother, Teresa Taylor, recently finished a career in the U.S. Army that caused Alex to grow up in a variety of places, including Alabama, Hawaii, Louisiana and Germany.

“I didn’t know him, or know of him,’’ Southwest Guilford football coach Bryan Davis said. “I had just gotten here myself. We were already in the second or third week of our preseason practice when he got here, so he was too far behind to play. He had just gotten back from Germany where his mother was stationed.

“But once I got to know him a little I tried to convince him to come out for football. He was reluctant to do anything. I guess it was imbedded in him that he was a basketball player. But when spring rolled around he came to some of our workouts. Then we took him to the Wake Forest spring football game and that opened his eyes that there aren’t many 6-5 kids like him running around a football field.’’

Taylor decided to become a football player that day.

“It was kind of my last chance,’’ Taylor said. “Coach Davis thought I could do a lot on the football field and have a great impact on the team. So I decided to come out.’’

Taylor did wind up starring for the Southwest Guilford basketball squad as a junior, averaging 14 points and 8 rebounds a game. He has improved his scoring average to 17 points a game this season.

After his junior basketball season, Taylor dedicated himself to learning how to become a football player.

“He was like a sponge all summer,’’ Davis said. “We went to so many different camps and combines, and I worked with him all summer.’’

Taylor proved to be a quick study, snaring 34 passes for 769 yards and scoring 11 touchdowns last season at wide receiver. He also rushed for 109 yards and averaged 32.7 yards per kickoff return.

“We had to figure out different ways to get him the ball,’’ Davis said. “That’s how good he was. We ran reverses, screens, all kinds of stuff to get him the ball. He runs like a deer. He gets by people before they know it. Of his 11 touchdowns, seven or eight of those were plays of 50 or more yards.’’

Taylor has 4.7-second speed in the 40-yard dash, according to Davis.

John Thompson’s coaching staff first began recruiting Taylor for ECU, but Skip Holtz quickly reiterated that interest after replacing Thompson as head coach in December.

“My coach had sent them a tape and I guess the new staff got a copy,’’ Taylor said. “They started calling me and told me they were interested. They felt I was the kind of receiver who would work well in their offensive system.

“So I went up for a visit and really enjoyed it. The facilities are nice, the campus is great and I had a very good conversation with someone from the business school. I couldn’t help but be impressed.

“So when they offered me a scholarship on Sunday, I accepted immediately.’’

Taylor isn’t letting his inexperience lower expectations for his freshman year at ECU. He wants to play and thinks he can contribute as a true freshman.

Davis believes Taylor will be an asset for the Pirates sooner or later.

“He’s just a terrific kid,’’ Davis said. “He’s articulate and handles himself very well. So first of all East Carolina is getting a fine young man.

“As a football player, he’s so tall. He’s 6-5 and can be five yards away from a defender, then, in what seems like one step, he’s two yards behind the defender. I think he’ll be an asset at East Carolina once he learns their system and gets adjusted to the college life.’’

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02/23/2007 02:36:43 PM

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