"He's just kind of a freak of nature in some regards," Southwest head coach Phil Padgett said. "He came in as a 6-2 ½ freshman. The kid has already played over 30 games on the varsity level. He's just ahead of himself as far as strength and speed. He's very aggressive, intelligent, and really gets after it. If he was a senior, he'd be a Division I prospects, but since he's just a sophomore he's only going to get better and better."
Prior to high school, offense had always been Taylor's focus. Once at Southwest, he was moved to defensive end and started for a squad that would win the NCHSAA 1AA Title.
"It was a pretty big thing," Taylor said. "I knew there was going to be challenges, but I knew if I worked hard and just listened to my coaches and everybody around me I'll do pretty well."
The following season, Taylor moved around more along Southwest's five-man front. He ended the season with 96 tackles as Southwest lost to Shelby in the NCHSAA 2A Championship.
Taylor has collected scholarship offers from Duke, North Carolina, NC State, and Tennessee. Padgett says that several other schools are recruiting Taylor hard. Most of the schools recruiting Taylor reside in the south, but Stanford has also expressed a strong interest.
"It's a good feeling to know that I'm doing something that colleges have taken notice to," Taylor said.
UNC offered Taylor while he was on campus for the Tar Heels' February junior day.
"It was pretty good," Taylor said. "I actually got to sit down with some coaches. We talked for a little bit. We talked about how they do their defense. We also talked about how I have an opportunity to extend my education if I go there. It was just a fun experience."
Dan Disch, who is heading Taylor's recruitment since Jacksonville resides in his territory, has told Padgett that UNC projects Taylor as a Bandit in the Tar Heels' 4-2-5 defensive scheme.
"I really think he could be one of those rush ends that can be dropped into coverage," Padgett said. "But he can rush the quarterback – I think that's going to be his biggest attribute because he's so quick off the line."
Taylor remained in the Triangle Area the following day and dropped by NC State on his way home to Jacksonville. He then visited Duke a couple of weeks back.
This summer, Taylor plans to attend several camps but is unsure their destinations.
Taylor doesn't claim any favorite schools.
"I'm still new to the process - I'm just trying to take it all in right now," Taylor said.
Southwest has a lengthy tradition of sending players to UNC. The most recent to ride that pipeline was Kendric Burney.
"I have talked to [Burney]," Taylor said. "He just told me to keep my head on straight – yes, I have an offer, but I'm still a football player and I'm still a student. He told I have to continue to learn and stay humble."
Taylor is young for his grade. He'll play the coming football season – his junior year – at 16 years old… Taylor was born in Dallas and moved to Jacksonville at four years old… Taylor is also a part of Southwest's track-and-field team, partaking in the 200- and 400-meter dash, 4x400 relay, shot put, and discus.