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Breaking Down the Opposition: WKU WR Taywan Taylor

The 6'1, 195 lbs Taylor was just a 2 star recruit out of high school; but he's played like a blue chipper for Western Kentucky.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Taywan Taylor may not be a household name, but he’s a productive receiver. Last year for the Hilltoppers, he hauled in 86 catches for 1,467 yards and 17 touchdowns. Taylor’s receiving yards total was good for third in the nation, right ahead of JuJu Smith-Schuster, who was noticeably quiet in last Saturday.

The versatile receiver lined up all over for Western Kentucky, coming out of the backfield a fair bit, too. He topped 100 yards in 8 of 13 games last season, and he managed a ridiculous 165 yards on just 5 catches last week against Rice.

Here’s a look at how he produced against an SEC defense last season.

2nd and 10: Taylor is in the backfield next to QB Brandon Doughty. He flares out into the flat and catches the toss. His fellow wide receiver is doing a fine job of blocking one of the DBs, and Taylor stutter-steps before cutting inside the block rather than outside. He gets just enough for the 1st down.

1st and 10: Taylor is wide left before motioning to the right hash mark. Doughty fakes the handoff and looks downfield. He’s got a rusher in his face, but he stands tall and fires a pass off his back foot. Taylor slices through the defense, avoiding defenders. It’s not a perfect pass by any means, but Taylor goes up in between the linebacker and defensive back and makes an incredible catch. He tips it with his right hand and then brings it into his chest with both hands.

2nd and 11: Two plays later we see the opposite from Taylor, however. He’s in the slot on the right with the corner well off. He runs a little 5 yard out route and is wide open. Doughty throws a well-placed ball, but Taylor lets it come into his chest rather than trying to catch it with his hands. He drops the easy catch, and the Hilltoppers have 3rd and long instead of 3rd and manageable.

1st and goal: Taylor starts out wide right but motions into the backfield pre-snap. The corner who was covering him drops back and to the middle. Taylor flares back out right, and the LSU defense leaves him completely unaccounted for. Doughty lofts an easy ball, and Taylor runs underneath it for the touchdown.

2nd and 24: Taylor is the lone receiver on the right. The running back motions out of the backfield to the left before the snap. Taylor just runs a short drag route, and Doughty easily hits him. Taylor has a load of green grass in front of him, and he takes off. He makes DB Donte Jackson miss in open field and gains a few extra yards.