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With 51 days left until Virginia Tech takes the field against Appalachian State, we turn our attention to number 51 on the roster, Mr. Bruce Taylor. Taylor started in place of an injured Barquell Rivers last season and wound up being a significant upgrade at the position. Not only did he lead the team in tackles with 97 but he also developed into one of the Hokies biggest playmakers. If Taylor can keep himself healthy, he could easily develop into one of the best middle linebackers in the nation over the next two years.
Weight: 252 lbs
Position: MIKE Linebacker
High School: Myrtle Beach High School
How Did He Get Here
Although not a national recruit, Taylor was heavily recruited by most of the schools in his region including Clemson, South Carolina, Florida State, UNC, Virginia Tech, Georgia, and a few others. He was a four star out of high school and ranked 224th in the nation by Rivals.com. In a way, he was one of Tech’s most important prospects in 2008 along with of course Ryan Williams, Dyrell Roberts, and Vinston Painter. However, Taylor committed early and never rethought his commitment. He gave his pledge to the Hokies on September 14th, 2006.
When Rivers went down with an injury, there was certainly some question marks surrounding Taylor. However, Taylor stepped up in a huge way last season, leading the team in tackles (with 91), tackles for loss (with 15.5), and finishing third on the team in sacks with six. Outside of Jaron Hosley, Taylor was arguably the Hokies biggest playmaker on defense.
The spring didn’t offer much in the form of analysis for Taylor, seeing that he missed most of it with a shoulder injury. But, heading into this fall, all signs are pointing to the Myrtle Beach native returning to the same player he was last season. The Hokies need Taylor to be that rock in the middle of this defense that can not only stop the run when asked but also play the pass as well. There were times last season when Taylor did get lost in pass coverage but he seemed to progress over the course of the season. Of course, his biggest play in pass coverage came against FSU when he assisted Gouveia-Winslow on that INT return for a touchdown.
In 2011, the Hokies need Taylor to return to his old form and improve his all-around game. I’m still not exactly sold on our other starting linebackers so Taylor may once again have to pickup the slack. Still, if Tech can find improved Backer and WHIP play, then that could set up Taylor to do what he does best, which is just go out and make plays.
Tipping a pass that led to a touchdown against FSU. That was a game changer.
Suffering a shoulder injury causing him to miss all of spring practice this past spring.
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Completely made up fact
Due to his joking personality, Bruce has earned the nickname "Bruce Bruce" according to his teammates. Thankfully, Bruce is a little leaner and more athletic than the comedian is nickname is derived from.
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