Taylor reflective as ASU career nears an end

As the 2010 season reaches its conclusion, the maroon and gold will bid farewell to one of their most consistent wide receivers, Kerry Taylor. The Arizona native arrived at Arizona State in 2007 and on Friday will make his final appearance at Sun Devil Stadium, trying to end his career on a high note.

"Since the first day I got here, I just tried to learn as much as I possibly could," Taylor commented. "When I was younger, learning from the older guys and watching the way they worked to prepare for games and the mental notes they took from games. I was just trying to learn from them and keep trying to work on my game throughout my career.

"Now being a senior and on my way out, I just try to be a leader for the younger guys and set a good example of how things are supposed to be done."

Taylor comes from a football pedigree with his father, Keith Taylor, playing 10 years in the NFL and uncle, John Taylor a former San Francisco 49er great. The long history of talented athletes benefited Taylor on and off the field, providing him with a leg-up over his peers going into college.

"They taught me a lot and I definitely still use everything today," Taylor said. "My Uncle, being a wide receiver in the NFL, I got to learn a lot of the offensive side of the ball. Just growing up with tips from him about how to be a receiver and certain ways to do things. Then my dad was a defensive back so I got to learn a lot about defenses and certain ways to beat the defenses, stuff like that when I was growing up.

"I think coming into college I had a pretty big jump on every one else with just the mental aspect and the game of football. I learned a lot growing up and I can still go to them any day and ask them questions because they still made it a lot farther than I have so far."

Taylor pledged to Arizona State after being recruited by former Sun Devil Head Coach, Dirk Koetter but all his tenure in Tempe took place under Koetter's replacement Dennis Erickson. The wide receiver made the decision to maintain his commitment to Arizona State but not without some hesitations. Ultimately, the decision proved to be the right one.

"It was a little tough because I didn't know who Erickson was when they first told me he was the coach," Taylor admitted. "It was kind of weird not knowing who you coach was going to be because you build relationships with other coaches during the recruiting process and then I was playing for a stranger. It was kind of awkward at first, but its kind of like relationship, you learn about people over time."

Despite the change in coaching staff in 2007, Taylor was still able to see the field for all 13 games of his freshman season accumulating 53 yards for the season and his scoring first career touchdown against San Jose State.

"He is really developed," Erickson said. "You look at him now and you almost regret not redshirting him but at that time we didn't have very much depth and one thing about Kerry is that he was a very polished receiver coming out of high school. When he came on the scene and was mature enough to help us, he did. "

"Looking back at it now, redshirting would have been great but I'm still glad that I didn't," Taylor said. "I still got the opportunity to play in every game my freshman year, learned a lot and a great experience. I think it was a good stepping-stone into my sophomore year.

"I don't really regret anything that happened at ASU, everything happens for a reason so I'm glad I got to play even though a couple of the years haven't been as good as I would have liked, I'm still glad that it happened. I just take it one day at a time and see what my future holds."

Taylor's senior season has been, without a doubt, his most successful go-around with the maroon and gold. The wide receiver's progression has been something that Erickson and Taylor both attribute to the change in offensive schemes implemented by new offensive coordinator, Noel Mazzone.

"The development this last year and probably what we do offensively, and what we're doing offensively has really helped Kerry," Erickson commented. "We move him around, he fits into particular slots in that offense where he catches some underneath stuff to make some great plays for us. He has had a great year and the improvement from last fall to this one, is unbelievable."

"I have to give a lot of credit to Coach Mazzone," Taylor stated. "For bringing the new offense in that just brought the life back to the receiving core just knowing that if we're a part of the offense that we're going to get open and get the ball. That and hard work, every off-season, during the season, doesn't matter when, I'm just working on my game as much as I possibly can.

"Finally this year I had the opportunity to show my skills and show what I can do out there on the field."

As the 2010 season nears a conclusion and Taylor reaches the end of his college career, the 6-0 197 wide receiver has learned that in order to be successful, hard work and dedication to the game are key.

"Everyday, just go out and give it your all," Taylor said. "You never know when your last play is going to be your last, you never know if it will be a good year or a bad year so just take one game at a time. Put all the effort you can into the one game a week, don't hold anything back trying to hold off for the next week, just give it all you've got every time you step on the field."

Friday afternoon, as the Sun Devils will take the field at Sun Devil Stadium for the last time this season we will once again see Taylor lead his team out of the Tillman tunnel but this time it will certainly feel different for the former Chandler Hamilton standout.

"This is the last time that I'm going to be running out of the tunnel," Taylor commented. "I'll probably look around as much as possible and try to get the best memories that I can because that will probably be the thing that I remember the most, the last time coming out.

"It will be cool coming out and seeing my family on the field and sharing that moment with them. Also playing in front of my home town for the last time so it will be a special day, I'm looking forward to it."

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