Seattle burner trips to WSU this weekend

THE PRIMARY RECRUITING focus right now is on linemen and mid-year JUCO transfers. But fast, shifty and elusive receivers are what Mike Leach's Air Raid offense thrives on and one of this coming weekend's official visitors could bring just that to the WSU table. The in-state product had an home visit with the Cougs on Monday night and he tells CF.C it has him ecstatic to trip out to the Palouse.

O'Dea High's Tatum Taylor isn't only one of the fastest high school athletes in the state, he might be the fastest prep runners in the country. With a hand clocked time 40-yard dash of 4.2 seconds, he has college coaches intrigued at the thought of him in their offense.

Washington State special teams coach and area recruiter Eric Russell was in Seattle at Taylor's house this week to talk about how his speed can be utilized in the Cougar offense.

"We talked a lot about my chance to play early next season and what I can bring to the team," Taylor said. "He talked about how they like my speed and how I can make a difference as a slot receiver and as a returner on special teams as well. It was kind of a brief visit, but it has me excited to get out to Pullman and it was beneficial for my mom as well."

Taylor's mom, Lynn Bernard, had several questions herself for Russell during the visit on Monday and she was left favorably impressed, Taylor said.

"Oh, she loves Wazzu," Taylor said. "She thinks it will be a good spot for me because it's a school where I can go and catch a lot of balls. I have a lot of family that has gone to school there as well, so she thinks it can be a good fit for me. It's also close enough to home where she can come to some of my games, so she likes that as well."

The 5-10, 160-pounder is no stranger to Pullman. He took an unofficial visit over the summer and had the opportunity to meet with some of the Cougar coaches. This time, however, Taylor said he is looking forward to a one on one sit down with Mike Leach.

"I think the program has a bright future under Coach Leach," Taylor said. "I'm very excited to talk with him about his plans moving forward. Washington State has a great recruiting class coming in and things are only going to get better for Wazzu. It would be great to be a part of that rebuilding and the tradition.

I just want to get more clarity on where I'd fit in the program and if I can see myself living there for the next four years. It's a small town and I know Pullman is nothing like Seattle. I want to see if it's a place I can be comfortable at. I don't want to go to a school and then transfer out because I don't like it."

In addition to Washington State, Taylor has Arizona State, Oregon State and Kentucky in his final four. With his blazing speed, he also holds a track offer from Oregon. Although he's strongly leaning towards playing football in college, he says he hasn't closed the door on the track-only offer out of Eugene.

"After my football season ended, all I can think about is not being able to play," Taylor said. "I definitely want to play college football. I'm excited to get to a team in the summer, pack on some weight and help a team win some games next season."

Taylor had plenty of positive things to say about the other schools that made his final cut, but added that he especially likes WSU because of the chance he could have to make plays in the open field.

"Playing in the Air Raid offense intrigues me a lot," Taylor said. "It could be the best thing for me because they utilize the slot receiver so much. It really excites me how they pass so much. After seeing the Apple Cup, it proves that the offense is effective and you can't ever rule out the Air Raid offense."

Taylor visited Arizona State on Oct. 26 and will take an official visit to Oregon State on Dec. 14. He is also in the process of scheduling an official visit to Kentucky for sometime in January.

He has no set date to make his decision and is planning to make his final call after he finishes taking all of his visits.

Here are a couple of 2012 highlights: CClick here

  • As a junior, Taylor rushed for 1,014 yards and 17 touchdowns, while adding 78 yards and another TD at receiver. He also had 209 punt return yards and a touchdown and had 356 yards on 19 kickoff returns.

  • Over the last year in track, Taylor recorded personal bests in the 100 meters (10.39) and 200 meters (21.41). He captured the 3A state title in the 100 meters this past May.

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