2011 Intro: Brian Taylor

Harnett Central head coach Marc Morris is a happy man. The most important position on the field is quarterback and for the past five years he's had prep star Rodney Cox and now rising junior Brian Taylor running his spread attack.

Harnett Central head coach Marc Morris is a happy man. The most important position on the field is quarterback and for the past five years he's had prep star Rodney Cox and now Brian Taylor running his spread attack.

Cox started three years at quarterback for the Trojans, finishing his career with nearly 5,200 rushing yards, 4,700 passing yards and over 100 total touchdowns. Checking in at 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds, Cox led Harnett Central to back-to-back conference titles his junior and senior seasons before inking with East Carolina in 2007.

Taylor, isn't as big as Cox, as he stands 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, but is already more polished as a passer and has a good grasp of the Harnett Central's scheme.

"Rodney did different stuff than me because obviously he ran the ball more than I do but the offense is still the same," said Taylor. We run a spread-type offense, and I'm comfortable in it. I do go from under center on some of our goalline packages... I drop back then, but we're mainly in the shotgun.

Rodney Cox starred for three seasons at Harnett Central.

"I think I run our offense well. I keep it organized and try to make plays either by running or passing. I can run the ball, but mostly if we run the ball I'll hand it off or run some option. We passed more last year when I was in there."

Taylor was inserted into the starting lineup midway through his freshman season, where he helped the Trojans win their final six regular season games while passing for 1,196 yards.

He entered 2008 with high expectations for himself and his team and lived up to them... at least before the injury.

A member of the Cap Fear 3-A conference, Harnett Central began 2008 5-0 with wins over 4-A opponents Fuquay-Varina, Terry Sanford, Lee County, and Hoggard, the defending state champions. In the team's sixth game, a win over rival Western Harnett, Taylor went down with a broken fibula. The injury wasn't expected to be as serious as it ended up being, as he missed the final six games of the year.

"I was having a really good year," said Taylor. "We beat some strong teams, and I was playing well when I broke my fibula towards the end of our game against Western [Harnett].

"I was actually going to play the next week but right before the game I had a X-Ray and found out it was broken so I was out for the rest of the year. We still had a good year though because we didn't lose until the second round of the playoffs."

In 5+ games Taylor was outstanding. He completed 61% of his throws while passing for 1,038 yards and 10 touchdowns with just two picks. He added another 326 yards rushing and seven scores.

An all-around athlete, Taylor is also a standout on the hardwood and diamond. He returned from his injury to earn all-conference honors in basketball and baseball and is looking forward to having a strong junior season.

"I'm also good in basketball and baseball," said Taylor. I'm probably better in baseball though, but I made all-conference in both.

"I'm definitely excited for football though. I didn't get to finish out last year so I want to come back and have a good year. We lost some good players, but we have good ones coming back on offense... our center and some wideouts."

Taylor's success has led to early recruiting attention. Thus far he's received early interest from the in-state ACC programs and has plans to camp at one of them.

"It's still early for me with recruiting," said Taylor. "I've heard from [NC] State, Duke, [North] Carolina, and Wake Forest.

"I've always been a State fan."

"I'm actually going to State's camp on the 24th of this month. I'm going up there for a one-day camp. I've received some camp brochures from the others but the only one I know I'll be camping at is State."

He attended practices this spring at Duke and NC State.

"The only recruiting visits I've taken was to State and Duke for spring practices," said Taylor. "They were good. At Duke I like their facilities and what coach Cutcliffe is trying to do.

"With State, well I'm real familiar with them and at practice I talked to Tom O'Brien and Dana Bible some. They should be pretty good with Russell Wilson coming back... they should be really good this year."

Taylor admits that he has grown up around the NC State program, as his father is an alum of the school. His sister, Lauren, played softball for NC State in 2007-2008 before transferring to Elon.

"I've always been a State fan," said Taylor. "We've got season tickets and go to all the football and basketball games. I've not been to any of the games as a recruit yet, just as a fan with my family.

"Honestly I just started out as a State fan. My dad went to school there, and I've been a fan since I was about five."

Schools can't officially offer Taylor until September, and he has yet to receive any verbal scholarship offers. However, he hopes a couple of schools do so. He doesn't have a timeframe for making a decision but didn't rule out giving an early verbal commitment.

"If the right school offered me a scholarship I could commit early," said Taylor. "Obviously I'd like for State to offer me... State and Duke too."


Pack Pride Top Stories