Plenty of prospects, some of them high-profile, others under-the-radar, have come and gone in the past decade or so, since the inception of the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl. Still, the talent level across the board on the national scene has been about as good as it gets.
Things don’t figure to change anytime soon as the hype continues to build for this year’s games: Dec. 17 and Jan. 29 at Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, also Jan. 5 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Raymond James Stadium and Jan. 14 at Houston Texans’ NRG Stadium.
To gain a better understanding about the rapidly growing direction of things, perhaps now it’s best to take some time to reflect on the humble beginnings. Therefore, moving forward, the plan is to more closely examine the brand’s many alumni from all over the country.
J.J. Taylor from Corona Centennial (CA) is the focus. Deservedly so. As a member of the Class of 2016, after all, he was named Offensive MVP with 194 all-purpose yards and a 9-yard touchdown run as North defeated South, 35-0, at Raymond James Stadium.
On a different level than most that day, other notable names were Clemson commit Zerrick Cooper, Oregon State commit Artavis Pierce, Nebraska commit Jack Stoll, South Florida commit Chris Oladokun and Pac-12 Conference target D.J. Davidson.
Bigger the stage, the better he plays, apparently. That rings true to this day, worth noting. The 5-foot-6 and 185-pound redshirt sophomore running back for Arizona will be in action against Washington State on Nov. 17 in a Pac-12 Conference game at 10:30 p.m. (EST).
Taylor has more than a few eye-opening efforts this season. He finished with 305 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns in 35-14 conference victory over Oregon State, also 264 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns in a 44-14 conference victory over Oregon.
Already on this year’s Doak Walker Award Watch List, Taylor has a realistic chance to earn All-Pac-12 Conference, maybe first team. To that end, he could be selected Associated Press All-American, perhaps as an all-purpose player. There’s no arguing with his production.
To those in the know, the numbers don’t come as a surprise. Not after Taylor was named as the conference’s Co-Offensive Freshman of the Year. He played in 13 games, three starts, and finished 847 rushing yards, seven touchdowns, five rushing and two receiving.
While still early, with much to accomplish at the collegiate level for Taylor, there has been talk about possible early entry to the NFL Draft. Only time will tell. One thing is certain, a short time ago, he was flashing immense potential at the brand’s All-American Bowl in Florida.