VTF Countdown: #68 Quinton Taylor

by JustinC on June 24, 2013 · 1 comment

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With 68 days until Virginia Tech faces Alabama in the Georgia Dome, we turn our attention to no. 68 on roster Mr. Quinton Taylor. Whenever there’s a talent walk-on that joins the team at WHIP linebacker, there’s always going to be that expectation that he’ll develop into a contributor. Unfortunately, Cody Grimm’s don’t grow on trees, which is why my expectations for walk-ons end at special teams duties. Taylor has some talent, as you can tell from watching his high school highlight film. He still needs some work but the foundation to build upon is there. If he buys into the program longterm I think he can be a successful player here at Virginia Tech.

The Breakdown

Height: 6’1”
Weight: 209 lbs
Position: Linebacker
Year: R-Freshman
High School: Thomas Dale High School

High School Career

Taylor is the latest high school quarterback turned athlete for the Hokies. The Thomas Dale grad lettered four years for head coach Kevin Tucker at Thomas Dale. He played the last two seasons at quarterback where he had nearly 3000 total yards both passing and rushing. He also added 26 touchdowns, spread over those final two seasons.

From a recruiting standpoint, VMI was the only school that showed interest in offering the Richmond athlete. According to Rivals, VMI did offer Taylor a scholarship. But, it’s hard to tell if that was a full scholarship offer or a partial. Most of the time when FCS schools offer players like Taylor, they offer a partial scholarship with the potential for a full offer during their final two years. With a teammate in Desmond Frye signing his LOI to Virginia Tech, Taylor decided to follow his teammate to Blacksburg and accept a walk-on offer.

Reasons For Excitement

Walk-on Success At Linebacker: During the past five years, the Hokies have started two walk-ons at one of their linebacker spots. Cody Grimm was a fan favorite from a few years ago that was eventually selected by the Tamp Bay Buccaneers in the 5th round of the 2011 NFL draft. This year, the Hokies will likely see Jack Tyler develop into a late round NFL draft pick as well. It’s early but one would hope Taylor would use that as motivation to try to become the next walk-on linebacker at Virginia Tech to end up in the NFL.

Quickness: In order to play WHIP linebacker, you have to possess a certain set of skills. Taylor has the quickness and the ability to move in space. That’s key to being able not only to blitz the quarterback but to also be able to turn and run with a slot receiver. From what I saw this spring, I think Taylor has the ability to handle both of those duties. He still needs to get stronger and develop as a player but the building blocks for success are in place.

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Causes For Concern

Walk-on Status: The downside to being a walk-on is that you’re not given the opportunities to advance at your position like a highly touted scholarship athlete is. If Taylor is going to develop into a contributor in the future, it’s going come through hard-work, determination, and making some plays in practice.

Long Way To Go: While I do think Taylor has the basic skills needed to be successful at this level, he still has a long way to go in his development. He needs to continue to work in the weight room to get stronger, hone his skills on the practice field, and continue to learn the WHIP LB position. I think the more film he can see of himself the better. After another year on the scout team, I think he’ll be in better shape to make a move on the depth chart. If not, a spot on special teams may open up that suits his skillset.

What to Expect in 2013

The Hokies don’t have a lot of proven depth at WHIP linebacker, which is why Taylor may actually have a decent shot to dress this fall. I don’t know if he has the ability to beat out either Josh Trimble or Derek DiNardo for that backup job but he could slide into that emergency reserve role and actually be allowed to dress for home games. That would be a positive step in the right direction.

Outside of that, I don’t see Taylor playing this fall. He’s still raw. I think the best course of action is to keep him on the scout team for another year and see if he can improve between now and next spring when more reps are available in practice.

Bottom Line

The Hokies have been fortunate to recruit several talented walk-on linebackers over the past few years. Taylor will have every opportunity over the next few seasons to add his name to that elite list.

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