Taylor Gives Glimpse of Things to Come

CLEMSON – There's been a lot of hype from the Clemson coaching staff this spring surrounding the potential and play of receiver/tight end/fullback/H-back Rendrick Taylor. Now, we understand why.

Taylor, a rising sophomore, set a Tigers Spring Game record with 174 yards on four catches, with the highlight being a 97-yard touchdown reception off a screen pass.

However, Taylor's play wasn't enough to lead his team to the win as the White team took a 24-14 victory Saturday in front of an estimated 17,500 fans at Memorial Stadium.

But even though his Orange team came up short, Taylor was still the talk of the day. Well, him and the seven interceptions between the two squads.

"He's been a very consistent performer and for a true freshman, he's shown a lot of maturity on his part," Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said. "It was a pretty impressive performance by him, and not just today, but that's kind of the way he's been since he's stepped on campus."

Taylor, who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 225 pounds, showed all the different ways he can be an impact offensively.

First, there was the 40-yard reception he had between two defenders. Then there was 14-yard curl, which was the least spectacular of his four catches.

What came next was a quick slant, where defenders bounced off his huge legs while trying to make the tackle, which resulted in a 23-yard gain.

However, that paled in comparison to his third quarter reception, where he took a bubble screen, made a couple of moves that resulted in two guys missing. He then bolted through the middle, turned on the jets and streaked 97 yards for the touchdown.

"I put a little move on them and all I saw was open field," Taylor said. "I think I surprised a lot of people. I didn't know I had breakaway speed, but obviously I do. …

"When I saw the end zone, I went for it as fast as I can, smiling the whole way down. If a camera was in my face, you can see a big smile on my face."

Those not grinning ear-to-ear were the three quarterbacks of Will Proctor, Cullen Harper and Tribble Reese. Between the three, seven interceptions were thrown.

It got so bad that cornerback Sergio Gilliam's three interceptions were just one catch shy of matching Taylor.

"We just wanted to make plays on the ball and allow our team to win, that way we'll have something to brag about," Gilliam said. "I felt like I had a great day today."

Proctor, who threw an interception on three consecutive passes in the first half, finished the day 4-of-9 for 73 yards with those picks. Harper was 15-of-25 for 156 yards, with a touchdown and two interceptions, while Reese was 3-of-10 for 113 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.

"I was just throwing them up to Rendrick and there was some miscommunications," Proctor said. "It was making the defense look good."

All told, the three combined to go 22-of-44 for 342 yards, two touchdowns and seven interceptions.

"I need to look at them on tape," Bowden said. "Some of them I didn't get to see."

Of course, there's very little fans and media can take away from a game like this. And in the end, Proctor kept it all in perspective.

"We lost and we'll move on," he said. "It's a good thing the White team isn't on our schedule next year."

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