Player Profile #32 – Phil Taylor

Who knows when it happens? At some point in all of our lives there’s that moment when we don’t even see the fork in the road as we come to it, let alone know what direction would be the best one to take. But Phil Taylor knows. Last May, Taylor traveled with a group of Baylor athletes and personnel to Kenya for two weeks. It was a major fork in the road for the big man. After his trip to Africa, he came back with a different perspective.

“It was a life-changing trip,” Taylor said. “You see how good we have it over here. It was a real eye-opener. I loved it and would probably do it again.”

With a new sense of purpose, Taylor played the best football of his college career in 2010 with the Bears. “Phil came back this season with a revamped attitude, work ethic and focus,” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “The light turned on for him. He realized what he needed to do and did it, and that’s something you like to see as a coach.”

Taylor volunteered for the trip led by Baylor chaplain Wes Yeary. They visited the slums of Mukuru and went to a prison in Nairobi. They met children who were sleeping on the streets, and went to villages that were infested with diseases. “Phil literally washed the feet of children and adults,” Yeary said. “He gave and served. He did everything that we asked. It was a joy for me to watch Phil step out of his comfort zone and share this experience with other athletes. He had an eagerness and hunger to experience a different culture.”

Now, he prepares for another life changer – pro football.Β  Here’s his story.

FAMILY FILE

Phillip Eugene Taylor

Born – April 7, 1988 in Clinton, Maryland.

Family – Father is Phil Taylor. Son is called “Lil’ Phil” because his Dad is 6-5, 370 pounds.

BODY OF WORK

  • Height – 6-feet, 3ΒΌ inches.
  • Weight – 334 pounds.
  • Arm – 34 inches.
  • Hand – 10ΒΎ inches.
  • 40-yard dash – 5.09 seconds.
  • 20-yard dash – 2.87 seconds.
  • 10-yard dash – 1.77 seconds.
  • Bench press – 31 repetitions at 225 pounds.
  • Vertical jump – 29Β½ inches.
  • Broad jump – 8-feet, 4 inches.

In pre-season work before the ’10 season at Baylor, Taylor squatted 665 pounds, lifted 455 in the bench press and got 400 pounds up in the power clean.

HIGH SCHOOL

Taylor was a member of the graduating class of 2006 Gwynn Park High School, part of the Prince Georges County Public Schools in Clinton, Maryland. It’s a small suburb southeast of the District of Columbia, just south of Andrews Air Force Base.

He had significant playing time on both the offensive and defensive lines for the Yellow Jackets under head coach Dan Hayes.

2005 – Taylor had 77 tackles with 10 sacks. He earned first-team all-state and was on the Washington Post’s first-team All-Metro squad.

2004 – He had 30 tackles and 2 sacks, plus he was credited with 30 pancake blocks on the offensive line.

RECRUITING

He was ranked as a four-star recruit out of high school and got the most interest from Penn State, Florida, Maryland, Ohio State, Virginia and Virginia Tech. Recruited by Nittany Lions D-Line coach Larry Johnson Sr., he committed to Penn State in January 2006.

COLLEGE/Penn State

2007 – Taylor played in 12 games and started five, after recovering from a knee injury suffered in pre-season drills. He had 20 tackles, 6.5 TFL and 3 sacks.

2006 – As a true freshman, he played in the final seven games of the season and was on the field for 53 plays.

COLLEGE/Baylor

Taylor graduated in December ’10 with a bachelor’s degree in general studies from Baylor University.

He admitted that after spending a summer without being affiliated with Penn State or Baylor, he finally reported to Waco and weighed 384 pounds in August of 2008. He got down to 365 for his junior year and 335 for his senior season.

2010 – Starting nose tackle for all 13 games. He had 62 tackles and 2 sacks. He had 10 tackles against Illinois in the Texas Bowl. Taylor earned second-team All-Big 12 honors.

2009 – Played in all 12 games, starting nine times at DT. He had 25 tackles, a sack, two blocked kicks and an interception. A turf toe injury in the middle of the season, fifth game of the season against Oklahoma.

2008 – He sat out the season under NCAA rules after transferring in September. He did practice with the team and maintained two years of eligibility.

Β Year

Β 

G

Β 

S

Tot.

Tkl.

Β 

TFL

Β 

Sks.

Β 

QH

Β 

FF

Β 

RF

Β 

PBU

Β 

INT.

2010

13

13

62

7

2

3

1

0

2

0

2009

12

9

25

2.5

.5

5

0

0

0

1

2008

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2007

12

5

20

6.5

3

1

0

2

0

0

2006

7

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Totals

44

27

107

16

5.5

9

1

2

2

1

JURISPRUDENCE

October 2007 – a dozen football players were involved in a brawl at the campus student center. Taylor was arrested and would later plead guilty to a disorderly conduct misdemeanor.

February 8, 2008 – Joe Paterno hands Taylor an indefinite suspension from the Penn State football team.

March 4, 2008 – Taylor charged with felony assault by university police for his role in the October brawl. He was also charged with simple assault, harassment and disorderly conduct.

March 12, 2008 – A district judge eliminated the felony aggravated assault charge against Taylor.

April 11, 2008 – Taylor accepted sanctions from Penn State’s Office of Judicial Affairs for his involvement in the October fight. He will be allowed to complete the spring semester of classes but will be suspended for both summer sessions. Taylor has also permanently lost his privileges to live in residence halls and is on probation through graduation. He also must take anger management and counseling sessions.

June 30, 2008 – Paterno kicks Taylor off the team on a permanent basis.

EVALUATION FOR PRO FOOTBALL

Strengths – He shows excellent strength, quickness and mobility for a man his size at the line of scrimmage. Plays with good leverage and bends his knees and has shown the ability to spin off blocks and make the play. He can push the middle of the pocket on the pass rush, but doesn’t have much in the way of a second or third move. Big body and his upper body development, plus his big rear end will allow him to play nose tackle, as well as a DT in the 4-3 scheme. He’s a hustler, who will run after plays and will chase down ball carriers.

Weaknesses – Anything in question with Taylor for the most part involves off-field items and his overall maturity. Because of his size he would probably be best in a rotation system at DT or NT. Despite his physical gifts he didn’t dominate the centers in three tapes I watched. He handled them, but didn’t control them.

Analysis – There are not many players who come along each year in the draft that combine enough physical size, with strength and that first step quickness to be suited for the nose tackle position. Of all the big bodies in the 2011 draft class, Taylor comes closer than anybody. The concern will be his maturity level and whether he keeps himself in shape.

WHAT THE SCOUTS SAY

A scout for an AFC team said – “This guy was nicked up all through his college career. I don’t think he’s ever done a good job of keeping himself in shape. His last two years have been better but there are real questions about his ability to keep this up.”

A defensive coordinator for an NFC team said – “He’s got two things you have to have at nose – power and quick feet. He’s got baggage sure, but what guy in this draft doesn’t.”

WHAT OTHERS SAY

Baylor head coach Art Briles – “What he did, he revamped his attitude, his work ethic and his focus. When you plan and you strive and you prepare, then you have an opportunity to have accomplishment. We’re really proud of the way he’s helped himself to help us.”

Baylor safety Jordan Lake – “I still look at him in the huddle andΒ I’m amazed how big he is. I remember at a practice last year watching him move from sideline-to-sideline. It’s so cool to see a guy who was 360 pounds move like he can.”

DOES HE FIT WITH THE CHIEFS?

There are a lot of variables with Taylor that would indicate he’s not a Pioli/Haley guy. But he’s an intelligent man, who has given every indication that he’s learned from some of his stupid behavior in the past. His physical skills are not something that can be found every year in the draft and would be hard to pass up if given the opportunity.

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