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HomeTeam Huddle: Kent Taylor stays grounded in recruiting whirlwind

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Mon. May 9, 2011 | Times Staff

HomeTeam Huddle: Kent Taylor stays grounded in recruiting whirlwind

Land O’Lakes tight end Kent Taylor has seen a meteoric rise in his recruiting stock during the offseason and is considered by some publications the top tight end in the Class of 2012. We caught up with the 6-foot-5, 220-pounder to find out what it’s like to be a high-profile recruit and whether he’s ready to unveil his college plans.

How have you adjusted to all of the recruiting attention you’ve been receiving?
It’s humbling, but at the same time, if you think you’re going to be that sought after, you’re an arrogant person. It’s definitely awesome. It’s a cool thing. Not many people get to experience it.

Have you narrowed down your college choices? Do you have a top five?
I wouldn’t call it a top five, but the schools I really like are Florida, Florida State, LSU, Alabama and Penn State.

When do you plan to commit?
Probably after the season. There are kind of reasons why I want to commit before the season because I want to focus on the season. But I’ve said from the beginning, I’m not going to commit and decommit. So the better answer is I’ll commit when I think I’ve found the right school.

Was there an offer from a school that surprised even you?
My first real big one was probably Florida State. I went to their junior day, and they offered me. …That was the one I got where I went, ‘Man, this is going to be good.’

Do you have a count of how many schools have offered you?
It’s somewhere around 38, 40. It’s something like that, I couldn’t even tell you the exact number.

Three to replace one
Ridgewood is looking for a candidate to replace running back Cameron Rodriguez, who was the Rams’ primary offensive threat a year ago after accumulating 1,213 yards. According to coach Kent Reed, the Rams may have found three. Rising juniors Bryce Sessler, Tyler Vito and David Bosland will share carries.

Number of the day
176 Rushing yards compiled by Gulf’s Ty’Shon Peters, Phoenix Burr and Nick Ritter last season. The Bucs rushed for 2,002 yards in 2010 and will need to find a primary ballcarrier out of the three to help strengthen Gulf’s new pro-I formation this fall.

Number of the day, part II
125 Points amassed by Academy at the Lakes’ Jarrett Harvey to win the annual Ironman contest devised by veteran coach John Castelamare. On Friday, Harvey beat out Evan Gordy (110 points). Harvey still has a ways to go to top Hunter Joyer’s all-time record of 204 points though.

Strictly speaking
“The kid’s a gunslinger. He is tough as nails. He will sit in the pocket and go through his reads with pressure in his face. I think that’s very important as a quarterback. On top of that, he’s very smart. He’s picking up the system, picking up all the different things we’re doing offensively now because things have changed. I’m really looking forward to what he does this upcoming season.” — Land O’Lakes first-year coach Brian Wachtel on starting quarterback Ryan Bird, a rising senior taking over after the graduation of Stevie Weatherford, who threw for 2,136 yards and 30 touchdowns in nine games last season.

What they’re saying
Every day, we pose a question to our readers on our Facebook page. They’re keen to offer their two cents … and we’re printing the best response.

Friday’s question: Who’s the biggest, nastiest offensive lineman this spring, and why does he strike fear in opponents’ wee little hearts?

• Cody Waldrop (Armwood)! He’s nasty. I get hit by him every practice. He’s insane! — Craig “The Assassin” Carrington

Next up: A lot of talented football players are graduating this month. Who’s the toughest to replace and who will pick up the slack?

What’s your call? Go here, become a fan and give us your thoughts.

Compiled by staff writer Bryan Burns and correspondent Andy Villamarzo.

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