At 6'-3" 205 pounds, and with a good set of wheels, 2018 Peoria High School QB Coran Taylor is a dynamic athlete. On Saturday in Champaign. He was a problem: Vernon Hills' problem.
Peoria High had put up gaudy numbers coming into this game, with their low point total being 21 in the opening round against area foe Dunlap. Following that game, the Lions scored a ridiculous 207 points (96, 68, 43) in the next three rounds leading up to the state title game.
But this was the state championship game against a fairly vaunted defense that had only given up 24 points throughout the entire playoffs (16 of which came in the semifinals against a talented Sycamore team). So that should have slowed Peoria down, right?
Well.. not so much. The Lions rolled in the state title game in what could have easily been classified as a shootout. Peoria lit up the Memorial Stadium scoreboard for 62 points in a 14-point victory over Vernon Hills.
And at the center of that all was a guy who is about to become a prominent figure in the recruiting scene in Coran Taylor, who paced his team with 14-17 passing for 241 yards and 2 TD, and he added an additional 134 yards on the ground and three scores.
While he's not the elite athlete Louisville QB Lamar Jackson is, he plays with a similar care-free style and is a real threat with his legs in the open field. Taylor is a true dual-threat quarterback who executes the read option skillfully and is already comfortable making reads on the defense. His vision in the open field and ability to make guys miss really make it difficult to gameplan for him.
Many dual threat quarterbacks at the high school level tend to struggle as passers, but Taylor displayed Saturday that he's just as comfortable moving the ball with his arm as he is with his feet, averaging nearly 14.2 yards per completion and throwing some really precise passes when his guys got open.
But coming into this game, Taylor hasn't gotten nearly the same buzz that other dual-threat quarterbacks in the area have gotten. Maybe part of that is the fact that Taylor hails from Peoria, not Chicago or St. Louis. Maybe it's because he doesn't play for one of the big 7-on-7 teams. But regardless of why he was under the radar before, the truth is, he isn't anymore.
Taylor has a D1 body with D1 athleticism, and plays with an uncommon swagger that is infectious to his teammates.
Speaking of his teammates, he has a good one in OL/DL Kendrick Green. Green was similar in some ways. Solid player who worked hard to get better, and finally got long overdue exposure that helped his recruitment really blow wide open.
So how does Taylor stack up against some of Illinois' other dual-threat targets in 2018?
Chicago (IL) Solorio QB Quincy Patterson is a big dude, and he's built solid. Patterson is a fairly good runner, but doesn't have the same lateral quickness that Taylor has. Patterson does, however, play on defense, too, so there's no doubting his toughness.
Pattonville (MO) QB Kaleb Eleby is a talented runner with a decent arm, but isn't as long of an athlete as either Patterson or Taylor.
I wouldn't be shocked to see Taylor start to pick up offers in the very near future, and after seeing what he did at Memorial Stadium on Saturday and his style of play, one of those offers may very well come from the in-state Illini.