Even as a young athlete Taylor Hearn had a toughness about him that didn’t have his parents surprised at all by his accomplishments as a starting offensive lineman for second-ranked Clemson.
“When he was in the eighth grade playing in his last JV football game of the season, he broke his growth plate. On the way to the hospital, he asked us if we could stop by our local pizza restaurant and order a pizza,” said Kay Hearn, Taylor’s mother. “He had a broken arm and all he was worried about was getting a pizza from Russel’s.”
Kay said Taylor used the pizza box as a brace for his arm on the way to the hospital.
Having the attitude and size of a typical offensive lineman, Taylor had a knack for another game, too.
“Baseball was always one of his favorites. He loved to play baseball,” Kay said.
When he was in the 10th grade, Taylor led Williston-Elko High School with eight home runs, almost breaking the school’s record of 10 in a single-season.
“He is always going to be on the front of the bus. He does not take second to anything,” Kay said. “I don’t care if it’s riding a bicycle, in a boat, in a vehicle. I don’t care what it is he is always going to be at the front of the bus. He wont take the backseat to nothing.”
Now a redshirt sophomore at Clemson, Taylor has proven his sense of strong competitiveness that even 6-foot-5, 340-pound defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence has gotten a taste of it.
“I was going against Taylor Hearn. We were like a stalemate at first and then I got off the block and made a tackle. That’s when my confident really rose because he is like one of the best offensive lineman we have, ” the freshman said.
Lawrence obviously knows what he is talking about because after the first start of his college career in last week’s win over Auburn, Taylor was named as the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Offensive Lineman of the Week on Tuesday.
Taylor finished with a 90 percent overall grade and a 98 percent score in pass blocking in Saturday night’s win at Auburn. The offensive lineman, played all 81 offensive snaps, had four knockdown blocks, and did not allow a sack. He also had the key block on Wayne Gallman’s one-yard touchdown run in the Tigers’ 19-13 victory.
Center Jay Guillermo, who has taken Taylor under his wing, was really encouraged by the sophomore’s performance.
“With a guy like Taylor just coming in on his first start in that kind of environment and just playing lights out, grading over 90 percent. I think he had 4.5 knockdowns against that type of defensive front. That was really encouraging,” Guillermo said.
But it was not surprising at all. Those who know Taylor the best just kind of expect those kinds of things.