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Gators running back Kelvin Taylor arrives after a record-breaking prep career.

Friday February 22, 2013Early Enrollee Q&A: Gators RB Kelvin Taylor

Gators running back Kelvin Taylor arrives after a record-breaking prep career.

Scott Carter
By SCOTT CARTER
GatorZone.com Senior Writer

Editor's note: National Signing Day was Feb. 6 and Gators coach Will Muschamp announced the 2013 recruiting class. Eight members enrolled early and began classes in JanuaryGatorZone.com caught up with the players for a Q&A series.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. The first time Kelvin Taylor carried the ball at Glades Day School in Belle Glade, he found a hole and darted for a 10-yard gain.

Taylor was in eighth grade.

Over the course of the next five seasons, Taylor rewrote the state rushing records, amassing more than 12,000 yards and 192 touchdowns while leading Glades Day to a pair of state titles.

Taylor opted to sign with Florida like his father, former Gators All-American Fred Taylor, who starred for UF from 1994-97. Kelvin will wear No. 21, the same number he wore in high school and the same number his father wore when he played at UF.

While the comparisons are inevitable, Kelvin wants to create his own identity in Florida's backfield and started his career early to get a head start.

GatorZone.com caught up with Taylor for a Q&A:

Q: What's it like to finally enroll and join the program?

A: It feels awesome to start working out with the team and get all the high school stuff out of the way. It's time to keep grinding and make something happen this year.

Q: What do you want to get out of enrolling early?

A: Really, just getting all the plays down and working hard with my teammates and staying focused. That was the big reason to come here early, to learn all the plays so I could get an opportunity to get on the field.

Q: What can you improve on as a player before fall camp opens?

A: There's a whole lot of things focus on the playbook, learning different defensive reads, pass blocking, all of it. I'm just going to keep working at it.

Q: Do you think having your background helps your football IQ?

A: You know what, I really don't pay attention. It's hard not to, but I really just go out there and play my own game and have a great time. It should because of my dad, but I just go out there and play my own game.

Q: What's something about you that people don't know?

A: I'm a big kid. I love to play games and have a great time with my family. I'm very blessed. I'm always playing a game. I actually play online with some of the guys who just graduated like [Jon] Bostic and those guys. That's pretty much what I like to do.

Q: What do you think the best day you ever had in football?

A: I would say all of them, but if I have to say one, I'd probably say my sophomore year playing Jupiter Christian. We needed a touchdown to win the game. There was like [1:32] left on the clock, and we had been running the ball that whole game. So my coach was like, 'hey, we might as well run the ball and see what Taylor is going to do.' It's like 75 yards to go and I think we got a delay-of-game call and it moved it back five more yards. And then I broke loose on the first play to win the game. I actually broke the state record for most rushing yards in that game with 437. It was at Roger Dean Stadium.

Q: So your best day came where the St. Louis Cardinals train?

A: Yeah, on a baseball field. That was definitely one of my best moments.

Q: Do you remember any of your dad's games?

A: Probably the Colts game, when my dad and Maurice Jones-Drew combined for [296] yards in that game, I think in 2006. [Note: Jones-Drew had 166 yards and Taylor 131 in Jacksonville's 44-17 victory].My dad, he went for [76] yards on the first play of the game but he didn't score. I always mess with him about that, 'You need to get your speed up, you've got to get faster.' I'd probably say that game. His rookie year [1998] too, I've seen film on it, when he played the Miami Dolphins. [Note: Taylor had a 77-yard touchdown run in Jacksonville's 28-21 win on Monday Night Football]. In college too, when they played Florida State here and Florida State had the No. 1 defense. He had a big game here, too.

Q: Have you watched a lot of you dad's film?

A: I've watched a whole lot of his college film. Like I said when they were playing Florida State, the national championship game when they played Florida State, a couple more games. Also, Adrian Peterson, Eric Dickerson, all those guys I watch. I just sit on my laptop sometimes and watch film on those guys.

Q: You never shied away from playing running back even though it's what your dad played?

A: I love that position. I believe God put me on earth to play football and also play that position. It's so natural to me, and then coaches help me out more. It's just natural and it comes pretty much easy. But to have the coaches there makes my game that much better. I embrace all of it and just have a great time when I'm out there on the field.

 

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