Glades Day RB Kelvin Taylor forces opponents to take notice
Thursday, December 10, 2009
by Jason Lieser
Photo by Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post
In three playoff games this season, Glades Day's Kelvin Taylor has run for 945 yards and nine touchdowns.
Andy Price, head coach for Daytona-Warner Christian, did some unusual redecorating in preparation for Friday's Class 1B state championship game against Glades Day.
Price posted photos of Glades Day running back Kelvin Taylor throughout his team's locker room as a motivational ploy.
"We've probably got a dozen pictures up," said Price, who's been praising Taylor all week. "I want them to take a good look. I want them to be tired of hearing about Fred Taylor's kid."
Regardless of Taylor's famous father, who starred at Glades Central and Florida and currently plays running back for the New England Patriots, Kelvin Taylor has constructed his own gaudy reputation over the past two seasons.
Taylor, a freshman, has powered Glades Day (11-2) to its first state title appearance since 2006. The Gators will seek their sixth championship when they face Warner Christian (12-1) at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando at 1 p.m.
Taylor topped 1,400 rushing yards for the second straight regular season, doing so on just 149 carries this time, and has been dominant in the playoffs. In Glades Day's three post-season victories, he ran for 945 yards and 15 touchdowns.
In last week's state semifinal win over Sarasota-Out-of-Door, Taylor carried the ball 46 times on a rain-saturated field for 358 yards and scored five times.
"My body was sore, but I had to help my team win," Taylor said. "Half of the game was muddy and it was pouring, so we couldn't do nothing but run the ball."
That workload might sound excessive – the NFL record is 45 carries in a game – but Gators coach Pete Walker conserved Taylor during the regular season, when he averaged fewer than 15 rushes per game.
Taylor also has the brawn to take the beating. He is 5-foot-11, 208 pounds (2 inches shorter and 20 pounds lighter than his father) and strapped with muscle.
His calves, the engine for his linebacker-flattening runs, measure nearly 17 inches in circumference at their thickest point. He already benches 280 pounds and squats 410.
And he's only 16, yet a year ahead of most freshmen because he has a late birthday and repeated a year of elementary school.
"I've never seen a kid as young as he is with that physical stature," Glades Day assistant coach Zach Threkeld said.
During the off-season, Taylor shaved his 40-yard dash time to 4.53 seconds and honed the details. He became a better blocker, made quicker, more decisive cuts and unveiled his new best friend, the stiff-arm.
The only question about Taylor's talent seems to be whether he will keep it with the Gators.
Walker has anticipated schools trying to lure Taylor since last year, and high-profile transfers marked Palm Beach County's recent off-seasons, but Taylor said he is home at Glades Day.
"I always hear rumors, but he's not transferring," said Taylor's mother, Tiffany Campbell of West Palm Beach. "He'll be at Glades Day until he graduates."
That's good news for the Gators, who hope to make this week's trip to Orlando a routine.