Harbor City (Calif.) lineman King James Taylor's recruiting options looked bleak as the days before National Signing Day started to dwindle, until he received a visit from Hawaii Warriors Defensive Backs Coach Abe Elimimian. UH was not ready to offer, but they wanted to bring him on an official visit.
“Coming into my senior year, I didn’t think I was going to college anymore because no one was looking at me, but I give all glory to God because He blessed me with Hawaii,” Taylor said. “I was speechless to talk to a coach. I had been talking to other coaches, but the way Coach Abe was talking to me it was like he really believed in me and thought I could do something for their team. I was speechless about it.”
Taylor visited on the final weekend that recruits could do so before NSD. He had the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with Hawaii’s new head coach, Nick Rolovich while visiting Hawaii.
“He asked me what my struggles were at home,” Taylor said. “I told him it’s very hard to find a quiet place in my home, living with like 16 people.”
Taylor is an only child, but lives in a three-bedroom home with his parents and over a dozen aunts, uncles and cousins.
“It’s cluttered in there - I can never find a quiet place to sit down and do my homework,” Taylor said. “He asked about my relatives too.”
His big family extends beyond his home, all the way to Hawaii's coaching staff. Taylor is the nephew of Hawaii’s new defensive line coach Legi Suiaunoa, but there was another family connection between Taylor and Rolovich.
“I told him, ‘You coached one of (my relatives) that used to play at Nevada,’” Taylor said. “He was shocked, so he called him up right there. Coach Rolovich asked him if I’m ready to play D-I and he said I’m most definitely ready. He said I was ready and deserving of a scholarship and should have had one already. Rolovich told him he was offering me right on the spot. It was a blessing.”
Taylor may have to deal with a cluttered home, but it was also an abundant source of support. His loved ones were overjoyed to hear the news of the scholarship, within a week of the big day.
“I told my mom about it,” Taylor said. “I’m a momma’s boy. Growing up being a momma’s boy, and an only child, she was crying. But it was tears of joy. Her and my dad have been pushing me and finally they got what they hoped for and it’s relieving for them.
“My girlfriend did a good job as well. Every night, she would tell me to get on my homework. She would help me with anything I need help with. Her, my mom and my dad, they just kept pushing me over and over until I got to the point where I got the scholarship.”
For Taylor, it especially hit him on Feb. 3 when he signed his Letter of Intent.
“The coach had us stand up and give a speech about how we got there and why we chose our schools,” Taylor said. “I felt like I was going to cry because at the moment, high school is only four years of your life and it’s a short amount of time you spend, but high school has been the best thing that ever happened to me. Signing the paper, making my speech, and talking to the coaches, I just felt relieved. Like, ‘I really did this.’”
On the field, Taylor comes in as a lineman, though it could be either on offense or defense. He currently weighs in at 6-foot-3 and 270 pounds.
“I’m aggressive,” Taylor said of his strengths. “I get the job done. What the coaches tell me to do, I do it. I’m a really good learner. I’m fast on my feet. As much as I love the O-line, my strong suit is D-line. I really love getting to the quarterback, that’s my thing. I love getting tackles too. Every play, the thought in my head is, ‘I’m going to get the tackle.’”
He is not sure where he’ll be at this fall, however.
“I’ve been looking on the internet and they have me under o-line, some under D-line, I still don’t know which one I’m going to play,” Taylor said. “If I’m on the D-line, I’m sure (my uncle, Coach Suiaunoa) will get on my butt about every little mistake I make. He might even call my mom about them too I bet.”