April 6, 2010
2012 back will have plenty of options
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - An undefeated regular season for Louisiana 4A power Lutcher High School was powered by one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the state, senior Gavin Webster, one of the most talented wide receivers in the nation in junior Jarvis Landry and of course an elite running back in sophomore Daniel Taylor.
With Webster being a senior, and Landry being an early LSU target as a junior, Taylor often did his damage in the shadows but there was no ignoring his production. In a wide open passing offense, Taylor still managed to rush for over 1,300 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also rushed for over 140 yards on four difference occasions. All of that was on limited carries as Taylor averaged over nine yards per tote.
With all that success and an undefeated regular season, the end was still bittersweet with a state semifinal loss.
"Last year was fun," Taylor said. "It really hurt when we got so close to the Superdome and we lost. We're trying to get back to redeem ourselves this year because we know what we're capable of."
In 2009, Taylor will take a leadership role whether he wants it or not. The 2012 prospect has been a starter since his eighth grade year. Heading into his junior season, his teammates will inevitably look to him for guidance.
"I know people look up to me as a team," he said. "If we're lifting weights and I skip a rep, other people are going to skip reps too so I just do it all and be a good leader."
Taylor will not be alone though. Landry, an early LSU commit will also return to carry some of the leadership load as well as the offensive burden. The two feed off each other on and off the field. Taylor considers Landry 'like a brother' to him off the field and a crucial part of his success on it.
"A lot of people are double teaming and triple teaming him and that just gives me more space to do what I gotta do," he said.
Landry also helps Taylor as much with recruiting as with football.
"He usually just schools me about the recruiting process and tells me to take my time," Taylor said. "He says just because he committed early doesn't mean I need to commit early."
Nevertheless, you can often find Landry putting a bug in the ear of Taylor about the potential of playing at LSU together. As a lifelong LSU fan, the idea appeals to the rising junior. However, to date LSU has yet to offer, while Landry reports verbal offers from Tennessee, Auburn and SMU.
The Tennessee offer arrived with the old Tennessee staff while Frank Wilson was still in Knoxville. Now that Wilson is in Baton Rouge, LSU has a lot in its favor, assuming they have a mutual interest in Taylor.
"I'm pretty much a big LSU fan," he said. "I like the atmosphere. It feels like a Lutcher game except more people. I went to their spring game and I used to tailgate out there with my people."
Another school that Taylor would like to hear from is Florida, thanks in large part to its offensive system.
"They have a lot of running backs similar to me with their size and speed," he said.
Though most of his interest has come from the SEC to date, Taylor is not limiting himself to that conference. He is willing to go anywhere that will give him an opportunity to play.
All that can wait though. Up next, a redeeming season and a goal of getting to the superdome.
...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now for a FREE Trial