Over the next 18 days, GatorCountry will preview the players that make up the 2013 Florida Gators football team as we inch closer and closer to the season.
Each day we will count down using the player whose jersey number corresponds with how many days there are left until Florida kicks off against Toledo in the Swamp on August 31.
Today we take a look at sophomore tight end Kent Taylor.
Taylor is an athletic tight end from Land ‘O Lakes High School. He chose Florida over scholarship offers from Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, Florida State, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Miami Michigan, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Ohio State, Oregon and Tennessee among others.
Taylor was an Army All-American in high school.
Taylor showed up to Gainesville at 6’5” 220-pounds, much too light for a tight end in the SEC. Taylor has done a great job this offseason to add bulk to his frame and is now listed at 240-pounds. He is still a talented receiver and can be a vertical threat for the Gators next season. The additional size should help Taylor be a more viable blocking option and a more well-rounded player.
Taylor isn’t a burner by any means, but he is deceptively fast for his size and is a threat with the ball in his hands. Speaking of his hands, Taylor’s are soft, he catches the ball out in front of his body and at 6’5”, he isn’t going to lose many jump ball opportunities.
Blocking is the most glaring hole in Taylor’s game. He has improved in this area but still has a long way to go. Adding around 20 pounds in the offseason should help him stay in front of defensive ends and blitzing linebackers, but Taylor is probably the fourth best blocker at the position.
What to Expect
While he isn’t the best blocking tight end on Florida’s roster, that won’t stop Taylor from getting on the field and making an impact this season. Look at Jordan Reed’s career at Florida. Reed gave more “look out” blocks than any player on the roster last season, while also turning into Jeff Driskel’s main target. Oh, and he’s collecting NFL paychecks from the Washington Redskins this year.
Taylor is by far the most advanced pass-catcher the Gators have at tight end and he will need to step up into a much bigger role this season for Florida. His height makes him an obvious redzone target for Florida, but he needs to be more than that. He is a big target with great hands that can run. Taylor has all the measurables to become one of the elite offensive weapons at tight end in the entire SEC but he needs to put it all together on the field.