From Unrecruited To The NFL


Photo: ukathletics.com


Once upon a time, Calvin Taylor Jr. had hoop dreams.


Much of his time in high school was devoted to earning a basketball scholarship and perhaps more if everything worked out; considering his height at 6'9 and his many accomplishments on the court, it seemed destined to happen. Taylor also had a knack for making plays on the gridiron. As a three-year starter at Christian High School, Walker Jr. played at defensive end and offensive line. In his senior year, he was named to the All-Central Savannah River Area team. Even with his accomplishments on the field, Walker Jr. was able to muster just one FBS offer from Temple, an offer which was later revoked.


Taylor was destined to take the junior college route, until he met with former University of Kentucky defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh, who arranged a meeting with Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops. That meeting led to a scholarship offer which Taylor accepted on the spot. Taylor was now a Wildcat.


As expected, Taylor did not see much action in his first two years, he was redshirted in his freshman year, and saw minimal snaps the following year. As time went on, Taylor continued to get better. By his junior year, he started in nine games and registered a sack with six tackles for loss.


Taylor had emerged as one the Wildcats' most important defensive player, a status he took to another level in his senior year. His 8.5 sacks became the seventh highest total in program history. In addition, he was tied for the team lead in tackles for loss with 9.5, while registering three forced fumbles and four pass breakups. Taylor had evolved from a player who did not see a snap in his freshman year, to gaining third team All-SEC status.


Now, the once unrecruited player coming out of high school, has a chance to make his mark in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers. For Taylor, the undrafted status should suit him fine, as he knows a thing or two about being much more than what is seen at face value. If all goes according to plan, he should make quite the impression the Steelers coaching staff and collective fanbase.

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