Introducing the 2007 Class: Kerry Taylor

Beyond the obvious advantage of being close to home, a local player choosing his hometown school can get a solid head start on his college career. Kerry Taylor attended each of the Sun Devils' 15 spring practices, and absorbed the new offense just like his veteran teammates did. With a new coaching staff he's getting a fresh like his teammates, and perhaps also a chance to contribute early.

Watching his father Keith Taylor and uncle John Taylor play in the NFL, four-star prospect Kerry Taylor knows that nothing comes easy. Thus, strong work ethic is woven into his DNA. Taylor started as a sophomore for a star-studded Chandler Hamilton Huskies team when they won the state championship, and judging by his whereabouts in spring practice, he intends to make a splash early in his career at ASU as well.

"Spring ball was tremendous for me, because I got to learn all the plays," he said. "Now when I play (in unofficial) 7on-7's, it's not that hard for me because I'm familiar with everything and know what to do. Knowing the scheme allows me to worry more about technique and not about the plays. No one is telling me I'm running the wrong route…"

Taylor remarked that the aforementioned 7on 7's drills are very competitive in nature. "Anytime a freshman comes in, the older players are hard on him right away and see what he's made of," he explained. "It's been fun, and there's some trash talking, but at the end of the day we're all on the same team and we all want to make each other better." Devils Digest has learned from one of the players participating with Taylor in these unofficial workouts that the wide receiver has shown a great deal of motivation and good execution.

Taylor has also shown his savvy by rooming with freshman quarterback Samson Szakacsy. More often than not, both talk about the team's playbook in their spare time. During workouts he enjoys catching balls from starting signal caller Rudy Carpenter "It's great to play with a quarterback on the college level, where every pass is right on the money," Taylor commented. "I definitely enjoy playing with him."

As a local high school star, the Sun Devils were naturally targeting the wide receiver early in the recruiting process. "ASU contacted me my sophomore year, right after football season ended," recalled Taylor. "I was always following ASU and I knew I wanted to go there. I watched a lot of games, because I was good friends with (former ASU kicker) Mike Barth's brother Chase, and he would always bring me along. So ASU was always on the top of my list and I knew I would go there, unless I got an opportunity I couldn't turn down. It had everything I wanted, and I just didn't see any school that could surpass it."

Taylor also cited the strong connection between Hamilton and ASU. Seeing familiar faces in his former Husky teammates in Tempe certainly didn't detract from his already strong feelings towards the maroon and gold.

Arizona, California, Oregon State, San Diego State, Boise State, Washington State and Utah were the other scholarship offers Taylor had received. "Cal was the only school I considered almost as seriously as ASU, just because of their academics." Taylor admitted. "They also have a good football program and aren't too far from home."

Nonetheless, the Hamilton standout didn't spend much time weighing his options and made his verbal decision to attend ASU in June of last year. "I got tired of the whole recruiting process, coaches calling me all the time, bugging me," he explained. "I knew ASU was a good fit for me, I felt comfortable there, so I just verbaled to them."

The Sun Devil coaching change occurred at the end of the 2006 regular season, but a change of heart by Taylor never truly took place as a result. "I didn't really consider de-committing," he said. "It's not only that ASU was close to home, but it's also because I knew I had a chance to play early. I definitely wanted to stay here as much as I could. Once they hired a great coach like Coach Erickson, I knew I wasn't going anywhere."

"My dad and uncle told me what a great coach he was," Taylor continued. "He coached with the San Francisco 49ers, so my uncle knew about him. They told me that he knows what it takes to win and that's a quality that I look for in a coach. He lets his players be players, and not try to control them too much. He's laid back, but he's also all about business and he wants to win."

During spring practice, Taylor naturally had an excellent opportunity to form an opinion on his position coach Eric Yarber. "He coaches you up no matter if you're a starter or a bench player," remarked Taylor. "He's gonna help any way he can, and he brings a lot of energy to practice. He really gets the receivers pumped up, wanting to practice, and wanting to get better. He jokes when it's time to joke, but when it's time to get serious he's all business. He's really fun to be around."

Getting advice from his father, who was a strong safety for the Washington Redskins, Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints, as well as from his uncle who was a wide receiver with the San Francisco 49ers, was invaluable to say the least. "My whole life my dad has never told me anything that wasn't true," noted Taylor. "He's been through the college recruiting process, and he knows much more than most of the other parents of high school players." He added that his father didn't push him to play defense in high school once he saw his son's natural tendencies as a wide receiver. Consequently, his uncle shared his NFL experiences and taught the ASU freshman quite a bit about the wide receiver position.

The summer workouts Taylor is partaking in these days in Tempe are just an extension of the workouts he's been undergoing ever since his senior season culminated. "I've been working out with some teammates from high school before I got to ASU, and my dad has been training me too," said Taylor. "The workouts I did then were just like the ASU workouts I'm doing now, so I came to school knowing what to expect. So far I've been ahead of everyone else (i.e. the freshmen). It's been a pretty good transition."

The wide receiver added that the classes at ASU are obviously more challenging than high school, but the academic atmosphere promotes more freedom and accountability than he's been used to before. "It's more on you if you want to get in done in class. They don't hold your hand and that's what I expected."

Regarded as the No. 44 wide receiver in the country by, the wide receiver caught 40 passes for 760 yards (19.0 ypc.) and 11 touchdowns as a senior at Hamilton. He helped lead the Huskies to the 5A state championship in 2006. As a junior, he earned All-Area and All-State honors after catching 40 passes for 800 yards and 11 touchdowns. "I run pretty good routes and I can catch the ball well," he said of skills. "When I have the ball in my hands I can make plays downfield and make people miss. I'm pretty strong so I can block pretty well. I need to work on fundamentals like getting off a jam, ending a route…little things like that."

With a relatively young wide receiver group searching for new players to step up, Kerry Taylor will undoubtedly get his chances to strut his skills, in hopes of playing in his first year donning the maroon and gold. "My expectations are to come in right away and play," he said. "Coaches think I can do that. I know I'm gonna work hard and hopefully I can come into camp and prove that I should play this year."

For someone that has been preparing so diligently for his college career, contributing as a true freshman almost seems as a forgone conclusion for Taylor…

Recruit Profile


Kerry Taylor

High School

Hamilton High School (Chandler, Ariz.)


Wide Receiver





Date of Birth



Voorhees, New Jersey



Favorite TV Show


Favorite Movie


Favorite Singer

"Mariah Carey"

Favorite Food


Favorite Drink


Favorite Athlete

"Reggie Bush and John Taylor"

Favorite Pro Team

"Phoenix Suns"

Person you most admire

"My dad. He taught me so much. Not just about football, but about life in general. All the time and effort he put into football, has instilled a strong work ethic in me."

First Football Memory

"Winning state championship as a sophomore."

One Thing most people don't know about me

"I don't go to too many parties. I'm more of a laid back guy."

Why did you choose ASU?

"Close to home, so my family can come watch me. Also having a chance to play early."

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"In the NFL. If that doesn't work out, I'd like to be a broadcaster on ESPN."

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