September 28th, 2012 12:00am

Happy Birthday Kelvin Taylor

by

Sept. 28 is always circled on Kelvin Taylor’s calender every year, but this birthday is extra special.

Taylor turns 19 today, and at 8 p.m. ET, he will play in one of the most anticipated high school football games in Florida history. His Glades Day Gators, ranked No. 1 in Class 2A, travel to Class 4A Yulee to take on the Hornets and star running back Derrick Henry.

Taylor and Henry are the state’s top two rushers of all-time and have combined for 19,837 yards in their high school careers. The game will be televised by ESPNU and Yulee’s stadium is expected to reach capacity crowd of 4,500, including Florida coach Will Muschamp and Alabama coach Nick Saban.

Taylor has a big game on his birthday. (Photo by Sun Sentinel/Eric Hasert)

Considering all the hype, how much does this matchup mean to Taylor?

“It’s just another game,” he said.

That mentality was manifested by his father, former Gator and future NFL Hall of Famer Fred Taylor.

“You don’t never change your approach,” the younger Taylor said. “That’s one thing my dad always told me, ‘I don’t care if you’re playing in the Super Bowl, just do your job. Do the same thing Kelvin Taylor does every game.’ ”

In doing so, Taylor became the state’s all-time leading rusher last year and has totaled 10,582 yards since his eighth grade season on varsity. However, the National Federation of High Schools only recognizes stat totals from grades 9-12 and doesn’t count Taylor’s 1,584 yards in 2008 toward his national numbers — currently at 8,998.

So while Henry’s 9,255 career yards trail Taylor in the state record books, he’s actually ahead of the UF commit nationally. Both have a chance to break the national mark of 11,232 yards, set by Ken Hall from 1950-53 in Sugarland, Texas. Henry is 1,977 yards shy of Hall and Taylor is 2,234.

Henry, a former Georgia commit, set two new state records last week — most rushing yards in a game (502) and consecutive 100-yard games (38). He will tie the national record of 39 if he hits the century mark against Glades Day. He announces his decision between Alabama and Tennessee five hours before the game.

“He’s a hell of a running back,” Taylor said of Henry. “Big and fast. My teammates are going to try and contain him. It’s a good test for us. We’re just looking forward to playing him. It’s going to be a great experience.”

Taylor is excited to play in front of Muschamp and plans to put on a show for him.

“That means a lot to me,” Taylor said. “It lets me know how much he cares. We have a great relationship and it’s a blessing to have my future coach on the sideline. Not too many get that opportunity. So I want to have a big game for him and come out with the win for my team. I’m not worried about anything else.”

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Comments

11 Comments

  1. September 28th, 2012 5:56 am

    I understand they printed an additional 1000 tickets after already printing significantly more tickets than normal. Bringing in temporary bleachers. Also heard there will be many Jacksonville Jaguars at the game so I assume Fred Taylor will be there too. Wife and I are going also

    by jjGator


  2. September 28th, 2012 6:02 am

    Zach, I am seeing some say this is Henry’s last game due to age restrictions. Is that true?

    by kevin


  3. September 28th, 2012 7:53 am

    Not true. FHSAA Bylaw 11.6.1- any athlete may participate up to the day they turn 19 years, 9 months of age.

    by JMD


  4. September 28th, 2012 10:38 am

    Happy Birthday Kevin and whip Yulee’s hind parts off. Has anyone ever run for a 2000 yards in one game? Go Gators and Go Gators!!!

    by J


  5. September 28th, 2012 4:36 pm

    Happy Birthday Kelvin! Can;t wait to watch you running the ball in that Gator uniform!

    by Gator Todd


  6. September 28th, 2012 6:21 pm

    Here’s hoping Kelvin drops 200+ yards on National TV and give Saban a glimpse into the future. GO GATORS!

    by grammatigator


  7. September 29th, 2012 12:14 am

    Just about done watching the Yulee v. Glades Day game and while Henry looks like a beast, I’m just not sure how his game will translate at the collegiate level. However, I can’t wait to see Taylor in the orange and blue. This kids running style should make his transition to the SEC seamless. Needs to work on his top end speed, but I love the prospect of having him in the backfield for the next few years. He should fit perfectly with the downhill running style Muschamp seems to prefer. And while Henry is one heck of an athlete, I don’t see him making it as a rb at bama. GO GATORS!!!!

    by Gator N NC


  8. September 29th, 2012 12:20 am

    The only problem grammatigator is that Saban just got Henry. Taylor ran for 230+ 1 TD and Henry 336+ 6 TD. Henry wore them down and runs broke open. Glades Day was over matched. Taylor is the team. Need to feed him more power sweeps and slip screens early on in the game. QB was horribly wet behind the ears and the WR play was non-existent.

    by J


  9. September 29th, 2012 8:52 am

    Kelvin Taylor!
    Kelvin Taylor!

    Go Gators!

    by applespie


  10. September 29th, 2012 9:11 am

    geez 19 in Sept. of senior year?! I turned 17 in April of senior year! Damn i got screwed athletically!

    by Sam


  11. October 21st, 2012 10:06 pm

    Your post captures the issue perftecly!

    by Lenna


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