Glades Day's Kelvin Taylor joins father as Groza Player of the Year winner
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
by Matt Porter
Five years ago, everyone knew the muscle-strapped eighth-grader from Belle Glade as simply "Fred Taylor's kid."
It didn't take Kelvin Taylor long to outgrow the label.
In his career at Glades Day, he produced 12,121 rushing yards and 191 touchdowns, the most in state history. He wound up fifth all-time in rushing yards. He won a pair of state championships and averaged 2,424 yards and 38 touchdowns a year for five seasons.
On Tuesday, Palm Beach County gave him a proper send-off.
Taylor was named Lou Groza Awards High School Player of the Year during a gala at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach.
The ceremony recognized the year's top high school player, coach, team and kicker along with three finalists for the Lou Groza Award, presented to college football's top kicker. Florida State's Dustin Hopkins, Florida's Caleb Sturgis and Tulane's Cairo Santos are the college finalists. The winner will be announced during the College Football Awards show at 7:30 p.m. Thursday on ESPN.
Taylor was chosen over American Heritage senior running back Greg Bryant, who is being recruited by Notre Dame, Florida State and South Carolina, among others, and Palm Beach Central senior running back Lloyd "Bam" Howard, who has committed to Florida Atlantic.
Taylor, who will enroll at Florida next month, was joined by his father as he accepted the award. Fred Taylor was a Groza winner in 1993 as a Glades Central senior before playing for the Gators and for 13 NFL seasons. They're the first father-son duo to win the award.
"It's a very blessed moment right now," the younger Taylor said.
That moment was his last in front of a local crowd for a while. He'll leave Glades Day on Dec. 21, play in the Under Armour All-America Game on Jan. 4 in St. Petersburg, and start at Florida Jan. 7.
Taylor won state titles in 2009 and 2010 and was last season's Post All-Area Small Schools Player of the Year. As a senior, he made a run at Ken Hall's 59-year-old national rushing record (11,232 yards), which last month was broken by Yulee's Derrick Henry. Since pre-freshman year numbers do not count toward the record, Taylor was credited with 10,537 yards, good for fifth all-time.
Chris Bean, who coached Atlantic to its first district title since 2008 before stepping down, was named high school coach of the year. Bean beat out Seminole Ridge's Matt Dickmann and American Heritage's Stacy Sizemore for the honor. Bean, 45, left his alma mater to work as the athletics director at Pompey Park in Delray Beach.
"It was a good experience," said Bean, who was 41-21 in six seasons (2003-05 and 2010-12). "The highs and lows are building blocks for souls."
American Heritage, the No. 1 team in the Post's rankings from wire to wire, was team of the year over fellow district champions Atlantic and Palm Beach Central. Tbe Stallions (11-1) advanced to the Class 3A regional finals.
Palm Beach Central senior Cameron Golob was selected kicker of the year. Golob, chosen over Glades Central sophomore Giovanni Lugo and Royal Palm Beach senior Tyler Bugeja, kicked a school-record 50-yard field goal in Central's district title-clinching win over Boca Raton. He made 5-of-6 field goals with 48 extra points and was 52-of-57 for touchbacks.