LAURINBURG, N.C. – There are some educated observers that believe 16-year-old defensive end Hilee Taylor is among the Top 20 prospects in the state. In Scotland County's 20-7 playoff loss to Charlotte Independence last year, the Taylor-led defense held opposing quarterback Chris Leak to just 82 yards passing – his lowest output of the season.
Taylor was in Leak's face the entire game.
Named the team's Most Valuable Player in 2003, Taylor registered 91 tackles, 23 hurries, eight sacks and a blocked punt for the 10-3 Fighting Scots.
Assistant coach Tom Paris calls him a "genetic freak of nature." Still, most recruiters agree he needs to add considerably more weight – he currently tips the scales at 200 pounds – in order to thrive at the next level.
"The UNC coaches have told me the biggest thing I've got to do is put on weight," Taylor said.
Scots head coach Mark Barnes believes it is just a matter of time before Taylor fills out his 6-foot-3 structure.
"He has a big frame," Barnes said. "I think he will end up around 250-260 pounds by the time he graduates from college.
"He has great speed as well."
Taylor posted an eye opening 40-time of 4.45 seconds at the Scotland County combine recently, and college coaches are starting to notice.
He is getting heavy interest from UNC, N.C. State, South Carolina, Colorado, Stanford, Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Auburn, and others. He likes UNC the best, followed by N.C. State, Maryland, South Carolina and Auburn.
As of Tuesday, Taylor said his parents would like him to become a Gamecock. Taylor grew up a Notre Dame fan and his folks really like Lou Holtz.
Scotland County alumus and UNC freshman defensive back Jacoby Watkins is a former teammate of Taylor's.
"I talk to him every now and then," Taylor said. "He keeps kidding me that I need to put on more weight to play defensive end."
Taylor will camp at UNC, South Carolina and Virginia Tech, but he intends to wait until after the football season before making his final decision. Taylor also participates in track and basketball. He is considering a major in engineering.
"He is the most athletic kid that we have had here in a number of years," Barnes said. "He is a great athlete that can really come off the ball."
LB/DE - "Genetic Freak Of Nature"
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