TOWSON, Md. -- It must be the shoes, gotta be the shoes.
Gilman star sophomore defensive tackle Taron Vincent, the very fleet-footed one despite his 6-foot-2, 295-pound frame, was running circles on, around, and through Loyola Dons on Friday in No, 23 Gilman's 49-10 rout at Loyola to improve to 4-1.
And those feet, which churn out a 4.85 40-yard dash time, are well taken care of.
On this day, the budding national recruit was sporting Under Armour cleats (Gilman is head-to-toe Under Armour gear/swag), but he has a secret hobby that keeps him on the move.
"I love sneakers. I collect sneakers. I have a lot, maybe more than 50 pairs. My favorite? The 'Legend Blues,' the Jordan's," Vincent said with a chuckle.
Those feet were more than active, and fleet, in the rout of the Dons, a game in which Vincent racked up six tackles, two TFLs, one sack (for minus-9 yards), and twice stopped ball-carriers at the line for no gain. He also had numerous quarterback hurries and knockdowns on a day he and senior and four-star teammate defensive tackle Ellison Jordan blew up and through the Dons offensive line all afternoon. Vincent even chased down a Loyola running back some 25 yards to share in a tackle.
"This [game] was great. It just shows our motors and shows all the other teams around here we are ready to come out and play every day," Vincent said.
Vincent, who is already racking up the early offers, helped keep Loyola out of the end zone until midway through the fourth quarter in the lopsided contest. If he wasn't collapsing the pocket or in the quarterbacks' face, he was re-routing running backs with no room to run. It usually ended up with he and Jordan sharing stops and big take downs, one of which Jordan blew up both the quarterback and running back at the point of handoff in the backfield for the play of the game.
"I am just trying to keep improving every week, get better with my technique," Vincent said. "Early in the season I was playing a little too high. But now I am working on staying lower, using my hands more to extend blocks."
Gilman head coach Biff Poggi sees the budding talent in his super-soph big athlete, who is still just scratching the surface.
"He's very special. He plays with great leverage, he has an unbelievable motor for a kid that's about 300 pounds, and he understands the game very, very well," Poggi said. "He's a freaky athlete. I mean, he makes plays on the perimeter on the screen, on slip screens and the stay screen he makes plays on the perimeter. He is very special."
Maryland, Ohio State, Alabama, Wisconsin and Nebraska are a few of the early offers that jump out so far, he said. On Oct. 3, Vincent and some of his teammates will trek to College Park, Md, to see the Terps in action against Michigan in their Big Ten opener.
"Next week I am going to the Maryland-Michigan game, and I went to the [Maryland] Richmond already," Vincent said. "I like them. I like Coach Edsall and what he is doing, and I like Coach Locksley, who is my recruiter. The group I work out with they went down to a camp there this summer and they worked out and I was there to support them."
Ohio State, Maryland, NC State and Wisconsin (where his pops went) seem to lead the early list of favorites for the young Gilman lineman.
Vincent said he will likely trip to Wisconsin, NC State and Ohio State as well unofficially this fall/winter.
Vincent, whose father Troy Vincent, Sr., was a college and pro defensive back, as is his older brother, Troy, Jr., is a sophomore defensive back at NC State.
"I don't know," Taron Vincent said with a smile, "I am just naturally big."
Last season Vincent started on offense at guard, but now he anchors the middle of the Gilman defense at nose tackle where his disruptive play has helped guide the Greyhounds to fourth straight wins after losing their opener on the road in Ohio last month.
His father, of the NFL Players' Association, has kept the boys around football all their lives.
"I love him. I am very proud of him," Taron Vincent said. "We went to the Super Bowl last year, that was my first time going, so hopefully I will get to go again."
On the Gilman start of the season, one which will culminate in their biggest game yet, the season finale at McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.) in the 10tth anniversary game between the two, he said:
"I like it. We are playing physical and hard and getting after it," said Vincent, who has five sacks on the season.
Vincent said he needs to use his hands better, become better at pursuing the ball and just learning his keys.