Taylor On Track

CHATHAM, Va. --- After playing tight end for the first seven games of Hargrave Military Academy's season, North Carolina pledge Monte Taylor was asked to switch to defensive end early last week in preparation for Saturday's night game against Monroe (N.C.) Jireh Prep.

"They told me in the beginning of last week that they'd need me at D-end," Taylor said. "I didn't know the whole scheme. I just knew certain plays – contain, hit the ‘C' gap, hit the ‘B' gap."

Taylor, a 6-foot-4, 240-pounder, started at both tight end and defensive during his career at Springdale (Md.) Flowers. He signed with UNC last February – knowing he'd prep a semester at Hargrave regardless of his qualifying status – and was projected to eventually play defensive end for the Tar Heels.

Against Jireh Prep on Saturday night, Taylor's usage as a defensive end was short-lived. Despite recording two tackles and a penchant for penetrating the pocket, Hargrave's staff moved him back to tight end late in the first quarter.

"They just told me they needed me back at tight end," Taylor said. "Wherever the coach needs help, I'm just going to step up and do it. They needed help on offense, so I stepped up and played offense."

Prior to his arrival at Hargrave, Taylor fell just short of qualifying. Thus, his main focus this semester has been improving his academics in time to enroll at UNC for the winter semester.

"So far, so good," Taylor said. "I'm taking it one day at time. So hopefully I'll get what I need to get, so that hopefully I'll get to North Carolina in the [winter] semester. I just need a couple more points on my ACT."

Taylor took the ACT for the first time as a Hargrave student two Saturdays ago. He also took the SAT last Saturday.

The NCAA Clearinghouse uses a sliding scale, which considers test scores and core GPA, to determine qualifying status. To improve the likelihood of qualifying, Taylor is also taking two classes – English and math. One of those classes will replace one of his core classes and thus increase his core GPA.

Taylor says that his communication with the entire UNC coaching staff has remained constant.

"We talk at least once a week," Taylor said. "We just talk about how our seasons are going."

Earlier in the season, Taylor, who visited UNC a handful of times while at Flowers High School, had planned to attend the Tar Heels' football game against East Carolina. A scheduling conflict, however, prevented the trip from occurring. He now figures to return to Chapel Hill in December for his official visit.

"All that will play out after the season," Taylor said. "With our football schedule and academic schedule, it's hard to get there until after the season."

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