High school football player previews: Now that the Georgia High School Association is allowing players to participate in preseason workouts, the prospect of a football season in the fall has improved greatly. As a result, area players will soon be hard at work in the weight room and on the practice field preparing for the new year. Each week during the summer, The Walton Tribune will highlight the top returning players who are expected to make a major impact for their respective teams.
Of all of the players to finish atop the area’s final football statistics last fall, none was more surprising than Eric Taylor. The Social Circle wideout ended the year with more yards than any other receiver in Walton County, compiling 650 yards and scoring five touchdowns.
It was his first year starting at the position, having spent the previous season on defense as a cornerback. He also played on an offense that averaged a meager 10 points a game and a team that managed just a single victory.
Of course, it helped that his quarterback, freshman Logan Cross, finished second in the county in passing yards. With both returning for another season, expectations are high that the two could combine for some eye-popping, record-setting numbers.
Toward that end, Taylor has been working hard in the off-season to make his senior season a memorable one. He’s been a regular at Terence Edwards’ Wide Receiver Academy in Atlanta.
“I’ve gotten down my footwork and all the basic routes,” Taylor said. “Now I’m just working hard to get better every day.”
That’s great news for Social Circle’s new offensive coordinator Jimmy Jarrett, who plans to make the returning receiver a key part of his wide-open “Air Raid” offense.
“He’s got good speed and runs routes well,” Jarrett said. “And from what I’ve seen on film, he catches everything.”
And not just on offense. Pulling double-duty at cornerback last fall, he finished second in the county in interceptions with four.
“I’ve always been a pretty good catcher,” Taylor said.
He expects to have plenty of opportunities this season. From what he’s learned of Jarrett’s offense, the ball should be in the air on 80 percent of the team’s plays. As a result, he’s set a goal of 1,300 receiving yards and 15-18 touchdowns.
If he comes even close to those numbers, the team’s results could improve drastically. The Redskins haven’t had a winning season in 14 years and last made the playoffs 13 years ago.
“The coaches have really been pushing us hard, making us do heavier weights and go hard on the field,” Taylor said.
Given that he’ll be starting on both sides of the ball, Taylor has been working to add to both his size and stamina.
“He’s putting in extra time in the weight room, trying to add more weight and become stronger,” Jarrett said. “But he’s also helping encourage and push his teammates. He’s a very positive kid with a great outlook.”
If he performs as well this fall, the outlook for the Redskins is very positive.