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With a 6-foot-2, 225-pound frame and sprinter speed, Davion Taylor has the ability to do a lot on the football field.
That’s good, because the Colorado Buffaloes might ask him to do a lot.
Taylor, a senior who came to CU as a junior college transfer a year ago, is aiming to build off his solid 2018 season by filling a different role for the Buffaloes this year.
A year ago, Taylor shined in the “Buff back” position that was featured in previous head coach Mike MacIntyre’s defense. Now, he’s playing in the “Star” position that is featured in the defense employed by first-year head coach Mel Tucker and defensive coordinator Tyson Summers, who both came to CU from Georgia.
“I like it better than Buff backer because last year I feel like I was more in run fits and this year I’m more in coverage, which I need,” Taylor said. “I’ll love to have that film trying to go the NFL next year.”
Taylor finished third on the team with 75 tackles last year — including a sack, 12 tackles for loss and 11 quarterback pressures. He was often tasked with stopping the run and rushing the passer.
The Star position is somewhat similar, but will often require him to line up on a slot receiver and play more against the pass.
“I really like that,” he said. “Last year I didn’t cover as much and I think I need to step up being that coverage guy and not just a pass rusher. It’s been a big change.”
Taylor is bigger than many of the players that have been in the Star position for Tucker at Georgia in the last two seasons — and much bigger than the others CU has working at the position this spring: Mekhi Blackmon (6-0, 160) and Curtis Appleton (6-0, 180). But, Taylor’s combination of size and speed is unique. He ran the 100 meters in 10.51 seconds last year for the CU track team — the top time in five years by a Buff.
“They come in all shapes and sizes,” Tucker said of players who man the Star position. “It’s always good to have a big body at that position. It helps you in the run game, it helps you on the perimeter blocking and we all know that (Taylor) can run. He can do a good job in coverage, so I like his versatility.”
With a later schedule for spring football this year, Taylor isn’t running track and that has allowed him to concentrate solely on football.
“I could focus more on trying to be a better coverage player,” he said. “With my speed, it really helps me a lot. If I get (beat on a route), I can use my speed to catch up; that’s one factor I love.”
Taylor, who had just two pass breakups a year ago, has had some bumps along the road as he progresses in coverage but said improvement is evident.
“Day by day, I see myself getting better,” he said. “When I first got there, it was a big change. I was getting routed up sometimes, but it’s a process. This is what practice is for; I’m still learning day by day. I’m still trying to figure out more techniques that will help me get better and what technique fits me the best.”
With his size and ability, Taylor can be utilized in a variety of ways, including rushing the passer at times. He will also slide to inside linebacker in some third down packages.
“It’s giving me a chance to show that I can play in different positions,” Taylor said. “By me being a bigger (defensive back), I can be able to rush off the edge, I can be in the box sometimes, so I can do it all. Being so versatile has really helped me a lot.”
That versatility could make Taylor one of the most valuable players on the CU defense.