Incoming Receivers Hope To Be Impact Freshmen

A pair of key football recruits talk about finishing their senior sports seasons and getting prepared for a golden opportunity as freshman wide receivers for the 2002 Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--Devin Aromashodu was one of the most well known high school football recruits in the country when he signed with Auburn in February. In contrast, Courtney Taylor was not very well known until late in the recruiting process, not even in his home state of Alabama.

However, both will start football practice in August on even footing and will get serious looks from Tommy Tuberville and the offensive coaches, who are looking to add speed, talent and depth to the AU receiver corps.

"I have been working on getting faster and stronger so I will be ready to come in and play this coming season," says Aromashodu, who picked the Tigers over Florida, North Carolina State and others in a wild recruiting battle that went down to the wire.

Taylor was more well known as a basketball recruit with his tremendous leaping skills that made him a Class A All-State pick in that sport. His games often attracted large numbers of college basketball scouts. However, Auburn recognized his football potential early and was able to secure a commitment and keep it after a full-court recruiting press put on by the scandal-plagued Alabama football program, which is headquartered just a short drive from Carrollton High School where Taylor was a three-year starter at quarterback and defensive back.

"I have been working hard," says Taylor, who joined Aromashodu as a visitor to Auburn's annual A-Day football game. "I am looking forward to stepping out on the field at Auburn. I am making the transition from quarterback to receiver. Basically, I think being a quarterback will help me because having played the position I have a feel for what the quarterback is thinking. Right now, the key for me to prepare for my freshman year is to just continue to work hard."

Both Taylor and Aromashodu are multi-sport athletes who are currently competing in track and field. At Miami Springs, Fla., High, Aromashodu is running the 100 meters. "So far this season my fastest time is 10.66, but I hope to get it down," he says. "A 10.5 would be good. In Florida, 10.6 will get you to state meet. To win state, 10.5 flat would probably do it. Maybe a bit faster."

Aromashodu caught 17 passes for 417 yards as a senior on a team that did not have a lot of passing yardage. He added 372 rushing yards and 45 tackles and one interception at free safety. A talented athlete, he was measured with a rarely seen 42-inch vertical jump at a football camp last summer on the University of Miami campus. Combine that jumping ability with good speed and excellent hands, and it becomes easy to understand why he is considered to be an incoming freshman to watch.

Devin Aromashodu

"Recently, I haven't been catching any balls, I have just been working on my speed and getting stronger," Aromashodu says. "I am going to get started back on catching passes pretty soon though." The Floridian is also considering an early arrival at AU by attending summer classes and working out with his future teammates. "I can't wait to get started," he says.

Taylor says he is excited about college football, too, but notes he is also enjoying his final days as a high school athlete. "Right now I am in track and am trying to defend my high jump championship," he says. "I think we qualify for state at the end of April. I jumped six-foot-five last year. The state record (Class A) is 6-7. I am going to get it this year."

The future Tiger has to succeed in track mostly on natural ability. Like Aromashodu, he has spectacular hops. Taylor had the best vertical jump of any prospect at an Auburn basketball camp last year, going 42 inches. During the his senior season, Taylor impressed Tommy Tuberville with a spectacular behind-the-back-right-hand-to-left hand slam dunk in a game the Auburn head coach watched him play in January.

That kind of ability explains why he could win the state high jump title with no track facility at his school and no high jump pit to train on. "Basically, we just go and run, jump and compete," he says with a smile.

Courtney Taylor

Taylor, a 6-3, 185-pounder, totaled better than 1,200 yards as a football senior and averaged 23 points and 10 rebounds per game in basketball for one of the state's top teams this past season. All things considered, Taylor is having an impressive senior year at Carrollton High School. "School is going great now," he says. "When I finish high school there is a great opportunity for me at Auburn and I am looking forward to being a Tiger."

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