After assistant coaching stints at Florida, Notre Dame, Wyoming, Cornell, Louisiana-Monroe, and Alabama A&M, he accepted the head coaching position at West Limestone High School four years ago. Considering his expertise, it's safe to say he knows a special player when he sees one.
"West Limestone isn't really a hotbed for recruiting," says Arnsparger. "We've recently had some D2 and D3 guys play here. I could probably coach another 25 years here and not have a player this good or with the kind of ability Alex Taylor has."
Taylor burst onto the scene as an 8th grader at West Limestone in Arnsparger's first year getting playing time on both the JV squad and varsity. An injury kept him out of action most of his freshman year, but he came back in a big way as a sophomore.
"He showed out that season," Arnsparger said. "He had 14 touchdowns and over seven yards per carry. He's just so fast that he outran everybody we played. There wasn't anybody who could match his speed."
Taylor, 6-3, 190 added 15 pounds of muscle and grew 1.5 inches from his sophomore to his junior year. Primarily playing quarterback, Taylor helped lead the Wildcats to an 8-3 record averaging nine yards per carry.
"We use the quarterback at shotgun in the Wildcat developed by Houston Nutt and Mike Markuson. Last year we started using it exclusively. In high school football you want to find ways to get your best athlete the football as often as possible. Alex has played quarterback, wide receiver, and running back for us. On defensive he plays defensive back."
Many scouts and recruiters believe Taylor will end up at wide receiver in college. Arnsparger served as wide receiver coach at Northeast Louisiana (now Louisiana-Monroe) where he developed future Pro Bowl wide receiver Marty Booker.
"Alex does a great job getting in and out of his breaks (at receiver)," said Arnsparger. "He's tall with long arms where he can stretch out and get the ball. We haven't measured his vertical leap, but he can jump over a man standing up. He'll hurdle players who try to tackle him on the field."
Tommy Reyer, who played at West Limestone, has now been the starting quarterback at Mississippi College for the past three seasons. Arnsparger said they rarely threw the ball with Reyer and cited him as an example of how players at the 4A level can continue to grow with more position-related coaching at the next level.
"When Alex gets to college he'll get more individualized attention at his position than he gets here," stated Arnsparger. "We're just a small, country school with a limited coaching staff of mostly volunteers. With college coaches working with him, refining his skill at his position, and if he continues to make the progress he's been making, I think he's going to be a really good football player at the next level."
College recruiters have taken an interest in Taylor. Curt Cignetti at Alabama, Mike Markuson at Ole Miss, Auburn, and Alabama A&M all have expressed interest in recruiting Taylor to their school.
"The University of Alabama is probably who he's been hearing from the most," said Arnsparger. "He's been to several Alabama games this year, an Auburn game, and an Alabama A&M game."
Taylor camped at Alabama last summer, and Arnsparger said he plans on camping their again prior to his senior year. Previously a basketball, baseball, and soccer player at West Limestone Taylor is now focusing all of his athletic efforts on football and plans to lift weights extensively during the off-season.
"Alex is very respectful and very appreciative of those who've helped him as far as teachers and coaches," Arnsparger said. "Right now he's doing fair in the classroom with Bs and Cs. It's an area he know he needs to improve on."
Although Arnsparger called Taylor's junior season "phenomenal" he suffered a dislocated shoulder which kept him out of the last regular season game and slowed him in the playoffs. The Wildcats lost to Fairview in the 1st round of the 4A playoffs, 26-19.
David Arnsparger is a graduate of the University of Florida. In addition to his head coaching duties he also teaches History at West Limestone.
Coach Spotlight: Alex Taylor
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