FREE: SMU offers three-star speedster
O'Dea (WA) athlete Tatum Taylor can flat out fly, which why SMU decided to extend a scholarship on Monday evening. After getting the tip on Taylor from a couple of other Northwest prospects, defensive coordinator Tom Mason decided to take a look at his film and was blown away by what he saw.
"Kolney Cassel gave them my film and talked to them about me. My friend Tere Calloway also told them about me when he was down on his visit," Taylor said. "They looked at my film this week, and they really liked it. Coach Mason said that any guy that runs what I run in the 60 and in the 100 deserves a spot on his team. He gave me an offer and told me he wanted me to play slot receiver."
Taylor admits that he is not too familiar with SMU at the moment but has heard nothing but great things about the program from both Cassel and Calloway.
"They're bringing in some top recruits from my area like Nate Halverson and Kolney Cassel. Tere speaks highly of SMU too so I trust him," Taylor said. "I know they run the spread offense and throw the ball a lot, which is good for me because I'm going to be playing in the slot. I like Texas weather and it's a great place to play football. I also have some family in Beaumont and Houston so it would be cool."
Taylor currently holds offers from over 10 schools but says he has no favorites at the moment. Due to track obligations, he has been limited when it comes to visiting schools and has only seen UCLA and Washington State.
But Taylor knows exactly what he's looking for in a school. The speedster said he prefers his college choice to have both a football and track program, but education matters the most.
"I love both football and track. I would really like to go to a school that will give me the opportunity to do both," Taylor said. "I want to have a good education so I can have a degree. That's the important thing.
"I also want to have a good relationship with the coaching staff because I'm going to be there for four years. I want to play for coaches that are going to help me take my game to the next level. Part of me also wants to leave the state of Washington. I'm not counting out any schools here, but I want to be independent."
With football season coming up, Taylor wants to garner more attention by proving he's more than just a fast kid. The 5-foot-10, 160-pounder feels he's more of a complete player than most people give him credit for.
"I'm very good at making people miss. I read my blocks and make my cuts so I'm really explosive," Taylor said. "I believe 15 of my touchdowns were 50 yards or longer. I'm a threat with the ball and really help my team stretch the field. I'm not the biggest guy, but I'm not afraid to take a hit, and I won't shy away from contact."
Last season, Taylor exceled at wide receiver, running back, cornerback, kick returner and punt returner. The Metro Mountain Division Offensive co-MVP and first-team all-state selection accumulated over 1,600 yards and scored 20 total touchdowns.
When it comes to his accolades on the track, Taylor won the Washington state title this past May in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.39 and is currently tied for the fastest 60 meters time in the nation at 6.71.
Taylor is competing in the Junior World Championships in Houston this week but will soon shift his focus to the gridiron. Taylor hopes to add 15 pounds to his frame and lead his No. 2 ranked team to a state title.
"I meet up with Tere, and we work out at a local high school. We really work on our footwork. By building the fundamentals, I can only improve my game," Taylor said. "I've been getting stronger. It's hard to put on the weight I want to because I'm still in track. After this week, it'll be strictly football."
Taylor explained that he will have to discuss official visits with his family and currently has none planned.
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