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May 16, 2012
Dallas Jackson is the National High School Sports Analyst for Rivals. Email him your questions and comments at DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.
The commitment of a major prospect to a football program can excite an entire community.
Taylor, the No. 188 overall player in the country, works at Village of Southern Hills - a lifestyle community that specializes in assisted living and skilled nursing - as a dietary aide. Its staff and residents are excited to see him succeed.
"They are all very nice to me," he said. "The residents tell me that I am the nicest guy on the job."
And with his invitation to participate in the inaugural Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge, Taylor is going to show that nice guys do not finish last.
"I am really excited to get out there and compete with these guys," he said. "This is the type of talent I am going to see in college so this is like a little glimpse into my future."
The invitation-only camp and 7-on-7 will be only the third-ever camp that Taylor has participated in. His sophomore year he performed at a camp at Oklahoma and before his junior year he attended a camp at Oklahoma State.
His experiences with the summer camp circuit are limited but his expectations are well defined.
"I expect to be making plays," he said. "My raw athleticism and playing the way I do will have me ready.
"My coach told me when I was young that I didn't need to do camps because I was a good player and would get exposure without them. But when we heard about this one it was an easy choice to attend and get out there."
Heading to Lakewood Stadium in Atlanta will be the first major football test of his broken ankle.
Taylor broke the ankle in the opening game of his junior season, and while his college offers didn't slow down, his time on the field was eliminated for the year.
According to the No. 16-ranked corner his ankle is fine and he has been participating in track as well as doing some football related drills.
"The ankle is great," he said. "I work out every morning and run some one-on-ones and passing drills with the receivers on my team.
The results of his performance at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge is still a topic of conversation at work and likely will be until the event is over.
"They are all very excited for me," he said. "I am sure that they will ask how I did when I get back. If I don't want to tell everyone I can just tell Sandy and she will spread it around quick for me.
"They are all joking that they are going to buy my jersey and watch my games so it is cool. I hope I can make them all proud."
Mike Farrell's take
Taylor is a terrific athlete who could play on either side of the football in college but his ability in space and his ball skills translate better to offense. Coming off a serious ankle injury, it will be interesting to see how much he's recovered as he says he's 100-percent but we'll find out. He's also very inexperienced on the camp circuit so he will be raw and could be a bit lost if he played defense so it's good he'll be an offensive threat in Atlanta. If there's one position on the field where pure athleticism takes over, it's at wide receiver so he could be a secret weapon for the Southwest.