Northwestern redshirt sophomore superback Jayme Taylor has retired from football due to back/neck issues, he confirmed to Inside NU. Taylor suffered the injury early in training camp and consulted doctors and coaches before making his decision, which he admitted was a difficult one.
He will stay around the program as a student assistant.
At 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, Taylor has ideal height and size for a receiving threat out of the superback slot, and he was regarded as a good athlete. While Garrett Dickerson’s strength is blocking, Taylor’s was receiving. He played in all 12 games in 2014, catching nine passes for 45 yards.
This puts a large onus on Dickerson, a true junior and one of the most highly-rated recruits in Northwestern football history. Dickerson doesn’t have the speed or natural pass-catching ability of Taylor (or Vitale, for that matter). But he has impressive strength and size and is a very good blocker.
But one player cannot make a position, and the depth behind Dickerson is both undetermined and unproven. Former wide receiver Cameron Green has been moved to superback and is listed as a second-stringer behind Dickerson. At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, the redshirt freshman has good size for the position, and his familiarity with the offensive playbook may ease his transition.
The Wildcats have redshirt sophomore James Prather, who has practiced on both offense and defense in his time in Evanston, redshirt sophomore walk-on Eric Lutzen and true freshmen Eric Eshoo and true freshman walk-on Cody Link.
Still, this leaves a major quandary for Pat Fitzgerald, who used a lot of two-superback sets last year, even with one NFL-caliber superback in Vitale. Taylor had been listed as the second-string superback in our final depth chart projection.