Kurt Taylor Jr. Get to know the name and the young sophomore Newton running back because by the time he’s a senior, Taylor Jr. will be one of the best running backs in the nation.
Taylor Jr. stands strong at 5-foot-nine, weighing in at a rock-solid 200 pounds. He’s built like a miniature Hercules, and apparently that’s the way colleges see him. Taylor Jr. is receiving multiple offers from power-five schools, and he’s not even featured heavily in Newton’s offense yet.
Taylor Jr. has offers from well known schools like Vanderbilt, Kentucky and UNLV. He’s been on multiple unofficial visits to schools like Georgia and Auburn, plus plenty of camps/combines to let colleges see the type of player Taylor Jr. is.
“What they love about me – they like my style of running. They like me as a person. I’m a humble person. I’m a hard worker and I’m a good guy.” Jr. said.
Hard work and humble are words you’d probably use to describe Taylor Jr. if you’ve ever met him. He’s quiet and unassuming despite his amazing physique. But Taylor Jr. wasn’t always this way, well at least he wasn’t always this muscular.
It started when Jr., who had always wanted to play football, broke his tibia in half while he was in the fifth grade. His father Taylor Sr. says he once slept with a football in his hand and a helmet on his head he loved football so much, but Taylor Jr’s injury didn’t change that.
“He knew what he had to do,” Taylor Sr. said. “This guy would run every day. He’d say, ‘Dad can I play this year?’ And I’d say, ‘No.’ He said, ‘I can play.’ I’d say, “No, you can’t. You gotta show me what you can do before you get on that football field.”
So Taylor Jr. showed him. He worked hard to get back to form. Jr. would run every day for, even in the summer in 100-degree weather. He worked on his footwork, ran, lifted weights, did pushups and pullups to build his body for two or three hours each day. Taylor Sr. told his son that if he could get past this injury, there would be no adversity he couldn’t go through.
“I said, ‘Kurt, this injury right here is going to propel you to the next level because most people would quit right here, but you want to still play in spite of [your injury],” Sr. recalls.
After two years, Taylor Sr. finally let his son play football in the eight grade. Taylor Jr. suited up for Clements Middle School and took the team by storm. In his first year playing, he led the team in rushing yards and touchdowns. Not bad for a guy who hadn’t stepped on a football field in over two years.
Jr. used his injury to his advantage. He’s morphed into this hulkish character that can power clean over 300 pounds, bench 375 pounds and hit over 500 pounds on the leg press. All while maintaining his 3.7 GPA in school.
“Hard work is undefeated,” Sr. said. “His work ethic, I have never in my life – and I work hard I’m one of the hardest working people you could ever meet, but his work ethic is unmatched. This guy gets up in the morning does about 400 pushups [maybe 500]. He’s been doing this for a long time. Ain’t like he just started this. This is something he constantly does all the time.”
The Taylors are definitely a sports family and Taylor Jr. is surrounded by successful athletes in his family. However, they’re more of a basketball family, but Jr. is the first to play football.
Taylor Sr. played basketball at the University of Hawaii and eventually in the USBL. His uncle Oliver Taylor was an All-City selection while at Far Rockaway High School in Queens, New York before having a successful career at Seton Hall and eventually playing professionally in France. Taylor Jr. is also Rockdale star defensive back/receiver, T.J. Warren’s cousin, who signed to play at the University of Missouri in February. Jr. is also a neighbor of another rising star in future Newton hooper Ashton Hagans.
Taylor Sr. was raised by a single mom with seven other siblings. He didn’t have the guidance that he bestows on Taylor Jr. growing up. Taylor Sr. was a talented athlete, but he didn’t have the right mindset to take it further at such a young age. He didn’t even find out about the SAT until his senior year.
“I was in the street,” Taylor Sr. said. “All I heard was cuss words, this and that. I didn’t hear about any big words. I look at the SAT, I’m like, ‘What is this?’”
Sr. missed out on his opportunity to play in the NBA when a scout approached him after a game and said he had been following Taylor Sr. Sr. spoke with him quickly, but mainly brushed him off before finding out a year later he was one of the top scouts in the league.
Taylor Sr. says that cycle will end with him. Whenever Taylor Jr. enters a room, Taylor Sr. makes his son speak to everybody and shake their hand (my hand still hurts).
“I’m excited that he put himself in this position as a father. I’m just using it as a tool for him and showing him a vehicle where we can move forward,” Taylor Sr. said.
Taylor Sr., who was once in law enforcement, also makes sure his son is involved with the community. He doesn’t want him to be one of those athletes that makes it big and never comes back, and that starts now.
“If you can’t do little things when you small, then God’s not going to bless you with anything big,” Taylor Sr. said.
“Being a service to the community is more important to me than just running a football,” he added.
Taylor Jr. says he just wants to be a good teammate, and he wants to win. That hasn’t stopped him from setting goals for himself next season. He says he wants to go for over 1,500 yards and 15-plus touchdowns, but most importantly he wants to win a state championship.
Jr. is still working hard every day, continuously building his body and working on his game. His father makes sure he stays humble, regardless of his accomplishments, but he’s also the No. 1 believer in his son’s talents.
“I guarantee you in two years, he’s no question going to be the best running back in Georgia,” Taylor Sr. said.
In two years when it comes time for Taylor Jr. to make his decision, Sr. says he’ll help his son narrow down his top-five, but he won’t help him pick his school. That decision is completely up to Jr.
“You gotta have a feeling in your side about the school you love,” Taylor Sr. said. “It’s gotta be something that you want, not what I want. I’m here to get [him] there, but [he’s] gotta pick it.”
Taylor Jr. was recently invited to Georgia’s Rising Senior Bowl, a game usually reserved for juniors and seniors. The downhill power runner receiving a lot of hype entering his junior season, and it’ll be on his broad shoulders to make believers out of the doubters.
“When you have a kid like Kurt and have the work ethic, it’s priceless,” Taylor Sr. said. “That’s why I continue pushing him, pushing him, pushing him, pushing him. If he keeps working, he’s gonna make it to that next level.”