2011 Profile: Phoebus LB Caleb Taylor

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Phoebus (Hampton, VA) linebacker Caleb Taylor turned in a big-time sophomore season, earning first-team all-state honors for his performance in 2008. A highly anticipated 2009 season ended quickly, though, when the 6-2, 230-pound junior went out with a knee injury in the Phantoms second game of the year. Taylor missed the rest of the season, including Phoebus’ march to a second consecutive state championship, but was recently cleared for action.

“I’ve been released and cleared to play. It feels good,” Taylor said. “I wish there was a game next week.”

Although his presence surely was missed on the field, Taylor tried to be a leader on the sidelines and in the locker room.

“Caleb was always there so he could help the younger kids. He would go over and talk to them,” Phoebus head coach Stan Sexton said. “He could tell them to look out for certain situations. It was good to have him there. Our linebackers coach is usually up in the box, so it was good to have Caleb there to talk to the guys coming off the field.”

Coach Sexton discussed what was missed on the field last season but seen in 2008, when Phoebus, then led by head coach Bill Dee, defeated Dinwiddie to capture the Group AAA, Division 5 state title.

“Caleb runs sideline to sideline very well,” he said. “He is big, so it’s hard to run right at him. He has excellent speed, so he is able to make plays on the perimeter. He called the defenses and he called the offensive strengths. The biggest thing was the experience, because he started every game as a sophomore.”

Taylor calls the 2008 season a “huge step for me,” as he had always dreamed of playing high school football…at Phoebus, in particular. Taylor’s focus now is working towards being ready for 2010 and a run towards a third consecutive state title for his team. Recruiting is there as well.

“I’ll talk to any coach who is interested in me,” said Taylor, who has earned official offers from Virginia and West Virginia and serious interest from Virginia Tech, Maryland, UNC, N.C. State and others. “I’ll probably just wait, see what my options are and visit schools.”

Taylor claims to have favorites but didn’t disclose which schools may have the edge. He