The 2020 NFL draft is loaded with defensive playmakers, with many of this year’s top prospects hailing from some of the most storied programs in the nation.
While those bigger names may be stealing the headlines for now, you’d be hard pressed to find a better story than Colorado’s Davion Taylor, who somehow found himself playing college football at Colorado despite only playing four quarters of high school football. A versatile defender, Taylor will be representing Colorado at the Senior Bowl this month.
Taylor recently spoke exclusively with MCM about the moment he learned he had received an invite to the Senior Bowl, his incredible journey up until now and more.
JM: I’ve interviewed many NFL prospects, but your journey is one of the craziest I’ve ever heard of. Tell our readers a little bit about how you came to Colorado in the first place.
DT: In high school, I really wanted to play football. That’s all I wanted to do but our religion, the religion my mother raised me with didn’t allow me to play on Friday nights. I practiced with the team every day but I didn’t play on Friday’s because of my religion. I tried out for two community colleges but I didn’t make it. I had walked on at a community college called Coahoma. I went up there as a preferred walk-on. I ended up making the team and the story just goes on from there.
JM: It’s a pretty crazy story. You don’t see many prospects with a shot at the NFL despite only playing one high school football game. It’s pretty unheard of. I don’t want to come across as if I’m questioning anyone’s beliefs, but was there ever a time throughout high school that you worried about what this meant for your future?
DT: I wouldn’t say it like that. Before I went to every tryout, I just thought to myself that if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. I’ll make the team. If it doesn’t happen for me, I guess it wasn’t in God’s plan for me. I trusted that he’d show me the way. I tried out at Coahoma and I made the team. Colorado eventually found me there. If I’m playing well and things are happening to me, my future will figure itself out. I continue to be blessed.
He was forbidden from playing high school football because of religious beliefs and was nearly cut from his JUCO team. How did Davion Taylor become a star LB at Colorado? https://t.co/G4tZkM5p1z pic.twitter.com/Mb44Bx007h— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 28, 2018
JM: It all worked out for you. What was your mindset like when Colorado expressed interest? Again, it’s not typical of a school like Colorado to express interest in someone with such little game tape available.
DT: I didn’t even know much about college football. I didn’t know who Colorado was. When they called me for the first time, I actually had to Google who they were. I found out they were a Power 5 school. I didn’t even know what the Power 5 was. The SEC was the only thing I knew about growing up. Everybody around my neck of the woods just talked about playing in the SEC someday. That was the dream. That’s all I knew. If I watched any college football, it was always an SEC school. I never even thought about watching other teams. When I looked up Colorado and realized it was a Power 5 school and what the Power 5 was, I realized it was a big D-I offer. I got excited at that point. They called me back and I pretty much committed right away. It was my first D-I offer. I never imagined that I would have that coming from where I came from.
JM: There’s no doubt about that. From what I heard, it was your speed that first caught Colorado’s eye. What can you tell me about your speed?
DT: I’ve been running ever since I was a little boy. I grew up running track. I won state in the 100 meter. I came third in long jump. I’ve always been athletic. I continued to run my entire life. I even ran at JUCO [Coahama] and I made it to National’s. Colorado saw the time I was running at and immediately expressed interest. They came after me pretty hard at that point.
JM: That’s amazing. If you get an invite to the combine, do you have any predictions for your 40 yard dash time?
DT: I can run that in the low 4.4’s. That’s what I’m aiming for. I can’t imagine that I run it any slower than that at 230-pounds. I’m planning on shocking the world at the combine if I get that opportunity.
Want a name to remember in April? Colorado LB Davion Taylor is that name. LB size and faster than most CB. Defensive coordinators around the league are going to be fighting for this guy on draft day. See you in January, @DavionTaylot! Bring your family over from Mississippi! https://t.co/GgspFpNBfw— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) November 6, 2019
JM: That would be an electric time. Coming from your small town of Magnolia, Mississippi and knowing so little about college football, how did life change for you once you arrived at Colorado?
DT: My life changed completely. I was homesick for the first week. It was crazy. It was a huge culture change for me. I was around very different people for the first time in my life. The food was totally different than what I was used too. It was a huge adjustment for me. I was living by myself for the first time. I had to pay my own bills (laughs). I really had to become an adult. I was away from home. It was a life changing experience for me. It taught me a lot though. It helped me become the person I am today.
JM: I love that right there. How are you still growing as a player?
DT: I still have so much room to grow. I have a lot to learn still. I can feel myself getting better and better every week. I felt like I was learning something new every week at Colorado. I’m not embarrassed to put my hand up in the meeting room and ask a question. I was just getting better and better every week. I have so much room to grow because I didn’t play high school football and because I didn’t know that much about the game. At community college, I didn’t even know what the A-Gap or B-Gap was. I learned so much and I’m still learning today. I’m excited about the potential for growth.
JM: That’s so great. Where were you when you found out about the Senior Bowl invite and what was your initial reaction like?
DT: I was about to head home. We had just finished up some workouts. One of coach [Mel] Tucker’s assistants came up to me, he called after me and he brought me to coach Tucker’s office. As soon as I walked in, they handed me the envelope and both congratulated me. I didn’t even know what to say. I was completely shocked and speechless. I just couldn’t stop thanking them. I started calling up all my closest friends and family and delivering the news. I didn’t expect that at all. I was part of the first round of invites which means they were pretty interested in having me there. It was all such a big shock to me. I didn’t even know how to react.
.@CUBuffsFootball LB Davion Taylor (@DavionTaylot) is one of most interesting hybrid defenders in ‘20 draft. Moving from LB to “star” DB this year. All-Pac-12 in 100m dash with 10.51. Didn’t play HS football because of religious reasons. Mississippi boy. #thedraftstartsinMobile pic.twitter.com/yXIEbRYluK— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) August 31, 2019
JM: It’s a huge opportunity for you. I’ve appreciated your time tonight, Davion. In closing, what are you hoping to accomplish in Mobile?
DT: I’m just excited to show everybody that I can compete with the best players around the country.