He has a tattoo on his right wrist that reads “(+) energy.”
Taylor got the ink prior to his sophomore season. The Florida Gators legacy was coming off of a freshman campaign that saw him carry the ball 111 times for 508 yards and four touchdowns. Taylor fell 35 yards short of being the first freshman to lead the Gators in rushing since his father — Fred Taylor — accomplished the feat when he was in Gainesville.
“I’m always a positive guy and no matter what you’ve got to be a positive guy so that’s why I got positive energy,” Taylor said of the tattoo when asked last spring. “So that’s just one thing I love, positive energy and everybody that I like to hang out with are positive people so that’s why I got it.”
The tattoo may have more significant meaning after last season. As a sophomore, Taylor carried the ball just 116 times for 567 yards but it wasn’t nearly enough to satisfy him. Taylor took to Twitter after carrying the ball just two times in a loss to LSU. He retweeted dozens of fans who called for him to get more carries, an obvious sign that he was frustrated with the way he was being used.
“I feel like the first two years, I mean, they were decent,” Taylor said. “But I know I can do way better. So that’s all I’m looking forward to.”
This spring, Taylor has been the bell cow in the backfield. With only two healthy scholarship running backs he’s had to take most of the reps in the backfield. Taylor has attacked spring camp with a renewed enthusiasm and vigor — his passion is not lost on his position coach either.
“The kid is a competitor. There hasn’t been a practice where he hasn’t showed up. He brings his ‘A game’ every day and he lets the defense know about it,” running backs coach Tim Skipper said. “He’s one of the more talkative guys out there. He just brings a lot of energy, I enjoy coaching him.”
One of the knocks on Taylor has been that, while he’s great with the ball in his hands, he hasn’t done what he needs to do in order to be a complete running back. This led to Taylor being taken out of the game when Florida went into certain packages. The solution to that is to pay attention in meetings, watching film on your own to pinpoint weaknesses that need to be improved. As Taylor enters his third season at Florida, these finer points of being an athlete are the ones where his new coach seems to be most impressed.
“He’s here whether we’re meeting in the morning or practicing later in the evening it doesn’t matter. That kid is going after it,” said Skipper. “A real student of the game, [Taylor] works real hard and it’s been a joy to coach him.”
According to his coach it’s something that Taylor has been bringing each and every day. It’s easy for a player who’s father casts a huge shadow over him as he wears the same number, runs out of the same tunnel and can see his father’s name and pictures on the walls of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium to get discouraged when he’s not breaking records or leading the league — or even team — in rushing.
Florida will face adversity this season. The current roster is thin at key positions and a gauntlet of SEC games and teams that don’t care about Florida’s depth issues are waiting with baited breath.
Taylor only needs to look down at his right wrist, stay positive. Florida needs Taylor this season more than they ever have. The only question that remains is can Kelvin Taylor answer the call?
“I just took from last year just to stay positive and everything else will fall into place,” he said. “I’m just so ready to get out here and keep working hard with my teammates. I can’t wait for the season to start.”