As great as Brandon Doughty may be, he can’t fuel one of the nation’s most prolific offenses by himself, and Jeff Brohm’s high-flying Hilltopper offense is far from a one-man wrecking ball. The nation’s leading passer is surrounded by a variety of weapons, one of which is junior wide receiver,Taywan Taylor.
A product of Louisville’s Pleasure Ridge Park, Taylor is scary athletic with his 6-foot-1 195-pound frame. In high school, he played four different positions and led his team to the state title game in his junior season.
Taylor had a modest freshman year on the Hill before having a breakout sophomore campaign. He finished with 45 catches for 767 yards and 7 touchdowns, establishing himself as one of the team's top two receivers, alongside fellow wideout Jared Dangerfield. This season he has the opportunity to surprise people in Conference USA, where he earned honorable mentions honors last season, and possibly on a national level.
But Taylor, who is a Biletnikoff Award Watch List member, is not one to gloat or pump his ego. He’s always deflecting the attention to teammates and the coaching staff, giving them all the credit.
“Knowing that our coaches have a lot of confidence in us gives us a lot of confidence ourselves and we just have to transition that over to the field,” said Taylor.
The pieces for success are there for the Louisville product. From his monstrous hands to his high-profile quarterback, Taylor is all set for another stellar year.
“[Catching balls from Doughty] is awesome,” he said. “In my opinion he's the most underrated player in college football. We feed off him, and without him I don’t think the offense would be moving at the pace it’s moving.”
This receiving corps is more than a one or two man threat. Headlined by himself, Dangerfield, Antwane Grant and younger talents Nicholas Norris and Nacarious Fant, Taylor likes the offense’s chances to exceed what it did last year.
“[Norris and Fant] have heart,” he said. “They may not be the biggest but they have heart. They’re two receivers that are gonna go out and leave it on the field every day.”
Improving his numbers from last year may not seem like an easy task, considering that he led the team with a 17-yard per catch average and posted the fifth best touchdown total in team history. However, for a guy like Taylor, there is no ceiling. In a little under three weeks, Taylor’s junior season will begin on the road at nearby SEC program Vanderbilt, an opportunity that he’s ecstatic about.
“It’s great for the program,” he explained. “It gives everybody a chance to showcase what they can do on a nationally televised stage. We have a lot of big opportunities and we have to lock-in, focus and tune out the crowd on the big stages like the LSU’s and the Vanderbilt’s.”
Taylor knows what this football team can accomplish. He knows its potential and realizes that he has some control over what this season will become. It’s a ‘Western Kentucky first, Taywan Taylor second’ mentality for the junior wideout.
“We wanna take this program to the top because that’s what we’re living on, that’s what we pride ourselves on,” he said.
Don’t be surprised if Taylor and the Hilltoppers do just that.
Is Taylor a headphones on or off kind of guy on game days? Check out the video below for WKUInsider's one-on-one visit with Taylor from media day to find out.