Covington (Ga.) Newton 2017 running back Kurt Taylor takes pride in his work ethic, and saw the first big payoff this week during a pair of unofficial visits.
“It feels really great,” Taylor said. “Hard work just pays off. That’s how it feels. ... It’s crazy.”
The 5-foot-9, 190-pound running back is already a workout warrior, benching 350 pounds and leg-pressing 540. He looks up to names like Walter Payton when it comes to his style, and totaled 554 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore.
“I’m a power back,” Taylor said. “I’m a down-hill runner, but I can use my speed too. When I look at Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Adrian Peterson, I look at that a lot.”
Taylor and family have an academics-first approach to recruiting, which is why offers from Rutgers and Vanderbilt held extra significance.
Taylor visited Rutgers on the heels of a Georgia Tech visit, and multiple facets of the Scarlet Knights’ program impressed him. Taylor met with multiple coaches, including head coach Kyle Flood, associate head coach Norries Wilson and recruiting assistant E.J. Barthel.
“I learned a lot,” Taylor said. “The running backs coach taught me a lot about technique, how to block, running the ball. At Rutgers, they were prating a lot of stuff, and then in the game it happens.
“… What I loved was that everything was about family. Everything is about family.”
Traveling from New Jersey to Tennessee, Taylor visited Vanderbilt Friday and will be back in state next week to see the Volunteers.
“Vanderbilt was nice,” Taylor said. “They’re one of the top schools academically, and they’re an SEC school. That’s a great school too. I loved that visit.”
Taylor’s farther, Kurt Taylor Sr., played Division I basketball at Hawaii and grew up in New York. The family is focused on academics first in recruiting.
“Academically and athletically as a parent, ultimately it will be his decision for what school he selects,” Taylor Sr. said. “In time we’ll see. The most important thing we did like about Rutgers and Vanderbilt is that when you talk in terms of top-20 schools in the country as far as academics, they both hold their weight as far as academics. As a parent, that’s what I love.”