Name: Jayme Taylor
High School: The Woodlands High School (The Woodlands, Texas)
Position: Tight End/Superback
Other offers: Air Force, Cal, Texas State, Wake Forest
The Scouting Report
From ESPN Recruiting Nation:
“Taylor is an active part of his high school’s offensive attack playing multiple roles including receiver and Wildcat QB. With his versatility, good size and solid athleticism he could be a nice fit in an H-Back role at the college level. He has good height and solid bulk and a frame that looks capable of supporting additional mass with further physical development.”
What he’s saying
“I really liked how the coaches really focused the players on academics,” said Taylor. “Just the character from the players met. I loved the coaching staff, that was a big part of my decision. I love the campus of Northwestern, everything about it.”
What’s the hype?
It is easy to fawn over the immense potential of Dan Vitale after a breakout true freshman campaign. It really is. Vitale was the most impressive first-year to suit up for the Wildcats last season, and the future promises substantial growth. Drawing comparisons to former superback Drake Dunsmore is not an absurd parallel to make; Vitale could be on his way to eclipsing Dunsmore’s multi-purpose skills in no time.
The next man in line, a prospectively riveting backup option, is Taylor – a 6’4’’, 230-pound tight end from The Woodlands, Texas, who denied overtures from Cal, Wake Forest and Air Force to sign on with the Wildcats. Ok, ok, I fully acknowledge its hard to look at the superback position right now and think about anything other than Vitale ripening into one of the Big Ten’s best pass-catching tight ends over the next couple seasons. But seriously, Taylor deserves your attention.
What about next year?
Now is not the time to throw Taylor in the superback mix. Vitale has the position on lock following his brilliant 2012 campaign, and introducing a true freshman into the fold could stunt his development. Vitale needs all the reps he can get right now. Taylor, meanwhile, just needs to learn the ropes – superback isn’t as easy to pick up as Vitale made it seem last season.
What about the future?
There will be a natural urge to involve Vitale more and more in the offense as he realizes his potential. And that’s perfectly understandable; why not get Vitale the ball in space as much as possible? The issue is that Vitale’s workload, which includes not only catching passes but also blocking and, on occasion, running pitch plays, is going to take it’s toll. A reliable superback complement will be needed, and Taylor can claim that spot as soon as 2014.
At best, Taylor can wrest away some of Vitale’s passes and play designs, but based off what Vitale did last season, unless Taylor comes in with a preternatural understanding of the nuances of Northwestern’s unique position, Vitale isn’t going anywhere but the top of the depth chart – no sir. So yeah, Taylor is a nice competitive spark for a player, Vitale, who probably doesn’t need it. Vitale’s emergence could ration his playing time to backup levels for a few seasons, but the skills and talent are in place to position Taylor as the most obvious backup candidate. With that in mind, this is Taylor’s unfortunate reality: his influence may not be felt in full until Vitale’s graduation.