Justin Taylor missed the first four games of South Stanly’s (Norwood, N.C.) 2009 season with a pulled hamstring, but he returned in good health and turned in a productive senior season. The 6-4, 220-pound defensive end/linebacker ended up leading the Yadkin Valley conference in sacks with 16, helping the Rowdy Rebel Bulls to an 8-5 overall record.
“He was all-conference at defensive end,” South Stanly head coach Luke Little said. “He split time playing defensive end and outside linebacker. We ran kind of a 3-4. Depending on who we played, he lined up at defensive end or backed up to linebacker.”
Athleticism has never been a problem for Taylor, who drew offers from Arkansas, Auburn, East Carolina, Kentucky and N.C. State before committing to Tech this summer. In fact, Little says that Taylor’s “first two or three steps are as quick as anybody I’ve seen.”
Little adds that Taylor, in only his second year of high school football, improved significantly in the mental aspect this season.
“His understanding of the game was better,” Little said. “Last year he was more of a ball chaser, which teams took advantage of sometimes. This year, he understood more of what people do and what he needed to do.”
Athletic enough to play linebacker, Taylor will play with a hand on the ground at Virginia Tech. Little is high on his former standout’s potential at Virginia Tech.
“Coach Sherman comes by often and they really like him at defensive end,” Little said. “The more he plays, the more he’ll learn. He only has two years of football. He definitely is going to get bigger. He has only been in the weight room for a year and a half.
“I wouldn’t think he would play his first year. I think the program is well enough to where he will be able to red-shirt. Being that Justin is kind of raw might be a good thing. He won’t have to get rid of old habits.”
Academically, Taylor is about 40 points shy of attaining the necessary qualifying SAT score.
“He has only taken the SAT once,” Little said. “He should be fine.”
VT official visit
Taylor made an official visit to Virginia Tech on the weekend of December 12th. Attempts to reach the South Stanly senior were unsuccessful, but Coach Little relayed that the experience went well.
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