Taylor Says He's Matured

The talented wide receiver, Junior Taylor from Arizona, is in spring practice after a year of being out of football. He said he learned quite a bit from not qualifying academically...

Junior Taylor, the 6-1 freshman wide receiver, said his experience of the last year has made him more mature and appreciate everything he has.

Taylor was one of the most highly-touted recruits in the west a year ago, after a great senior season at Mesa (Ariz.) High. He committed to UCLA, but then didn't achieve a qualifying SAT score to qualify to enroll last fall.

"Looking back, I'd say that I really blew it by not studying hard for the SAT," Taylor said. "Because the last year was pretty depressing."

Since he wasn't qualified, Taylor attended Chandler-Gilbert JC in Arizona, took a couple of classes, and buckled down to study for the SAT. "I was a pretty good student in high school. I got As and Bs mostly. But I just kind of blew off studying for the SAT. I thought I'd be able to pass easily. When I took it and I didn't, then I realized that I had really blown it. I took it a second time and still didn't pass. Then, the third time, while I was going to Chandler-Gilbert, I passed and qualified to enroll in January at UCLA."

Taylor said the experience changed him and helped him grow up a bit. "When I didn't pass I was pretty depressed. I struggled for a while. When something is taken away from you like that, it helps you mature a lot."

Watching UCLA's receiving corps get pretty thin last season and hurt UCLA's passing game also was tough on him. "I felt I definitely could have helped. That was probably the toughest thing to watch," Taylor said.

With his first National Letter of Intent then voided, Taylor could have easily then considered other schools. "I took a little time and thought about it, and thought about where I wanted to be. But then I got so much support from UCLA. Coach Bernardi, Coach Pearce, Tab Perry, and Keith Carter were calling me and encouraging me. I went to every home game at the Rose Bowl last year. With all of that, I knew I had made the perfect choice for me."

Now, after sitting out from football for a year, Taylor admits to being rusty and nervous. "The first couple of days I was nervous," Taylor said. "And I have so much to learn, how to run routes and techniques. But it feels so good to be out here. Like I said, when you have something, you don't realize how much it means to you until it's taken away."

So, for spring, Taylor has some goals he wants to accomplish. "I first want to establish myself as a player, with the coaches and on the team. I want to find my place on the team. And then I want to learn as much as possible. I want to then show that I can help this team, since I wasn't able to do it last year."

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