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The Huddle: Choosing the right college

10/31/2011

The huddle is a sacred place in football; one where the team and game are the only things that count. We’re going inside the huddle by talking to football players on the POWERADE FAB 50 teams to find out their most valuable lessons learned -- on or off the field -- that contribute to their success.

Senior Kendyl Taylor, a versatile running back and receiver for the No. 19 team in the POWERADE FAB 50, Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.), talks about the process of narrowing down the many schools that were recruiting him in order to determine the right fit. The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder has committed to the University of Washington, and had been pursued by Notre Dame, University of Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford, Michigan State and Washington State.

Taylor's junior year saw him tally 48 receptions for 713 yards and five touchdowns and 784 rushing yards and nine more scores to pace the Huskies during a 15-0, Class 5A state championship season. This season's Huskies have won their first ten games, and Taylor, a 3.3 grade average student, already knows the college at which he will play football next fall.

Taylor outlined four factors that helped him to settle on the University of Washington: The sincerity of the coaching staff, how he as a player fit into the program's plans, education and campus environment.

No. 1: "Honesty and sincerity among the coaches is the first thing, and not just with head coach Steve Sarkisian, but among all of his coaches. For me, the best way to determine that was in their eyes and how they talk. You can kind of observe the difference between when someone is trying to play themselves up or pump themselves up and when someone is more down to earth."

No. 2: "What kind of scheme the football program plays. For me, that was how the Huskies' offense best suited me in how I fit into their plans and how they play. Washington runs a pro-style offense, which I've been great in since Pop Warner. With my versatility, I felt as if their system would allow me to continue to be dangerous and to play running back and wide receiver there."

No. 3: "Education. Washington is very high on that. I took note of the class rankings within certain majors and they were all pretty high in the country. I'm still not sure what my major will be, probably business marketing. I felt like I had a lot of variety and a lot to choose from. That's what stuck out for me."

No. 4: "The campus environment. The campus is about a three-hour flight from my home, so I needed to feel as if I could be comfortable being away from home for four years there. It's a really green campus with a lot of water around that grabbed my attention. It's calm and not too crazy. The coaches were family-oriented, so it seems like they'll take care of us there. It rains up there and gets a little cold, but I wanted to get out of the heat and experience a change in atmosphere."

Role Models: Kerry and Keith Taylor, brother and father. "Kerry is actually with the Minnesota Vikings on the practice roster as a linebacker. He's been through some highs and lows and always worked hard and battled. He's taught me a lot of my receiver skills. My father played in the NFL, and taught me as much as I need to know. He doesn't fill my head with lies."