August 4, 2008

Quiet Taylor leads by example

No wideout returning this season to the Southeastern Conference boasts the impressive numbers Lucas Taylor compiled during his 2007 breakthrough campaign.

But the players generating the most preseason buzz in the SEC are Florida's Percy Harvin, South Carolina's Kenny McKinley and several other wideouts. On the coaches' initial All-SEC team for 2008, Taylor isn't found until the third-team picks. The media lists two squads, and Taylor doesn't appear on either.

Just don't expect the senior from Carencro, La., to complain about it.

"I don't pay attention to it, really," said Taylor, who gathered 73 passes for an even 1,000 yards and five scores in 2007. "All I just do is just go on the field and make plays when I get a chance to."

Seeing Taylor overlooked fits the theme first-year receivers coach Latrell Scott delivers to his platoon each day in its preparations for the Sept. 1 opener at UCLA and remainder of the season.

"We talked about that (Saturday) morning as an entire group. We're kind of flying under the radar, which is good," Scott said. "I challenge these guys to stay focused and humble and good things are going to happen to them. I think Lucas Taylor is one of the top players in this league, and he's shown it by his production. I just think that Lucas is a quiet kid and just goes on about his business.

"At times, that's kind of what hurts him, but he's the leader of this group, and if you ask any receiver in this group who our best receiver is, they'll tell you Lucas Taylor."

While Taylor insists the preseason snubs provide minimal motivation, he continues to progress from a reconstructed right shoulder surgery and strive for success because of his family.

"That's a big deal," Taylor said of his family. "Lot, lot, lot of motivation. It makes you just work hard and tough.

"(Taylor and his mother) talk every day. Every single day for about 30 minutes, maybe. It's good, we're real close and everything. It's a real good relationship."

The strong respect Taylor cultivates from teammates also is a strong source of leadership for Scott as he continues to mold the wideouts.

"I challenge guys like Lucas, Josh Briscoe and Austin Rogers to take those younger guys under their wings," Scott said. "If I had a problem this summer, I let Lucas square it away because they respect him so much. He's able to go and get it done in a quiet manner. He's not going to yell and scream, but if Lucas Taylor walks up to you and asks you to do something, it's going to be tough for you to tell him no."

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