Taylor Upshaw had wanted to play football for a while, but felt he wasn’t physically or mentally ready. So, he held himself away from the game.
However, that changed this season when Upshaw, a junior in the 2018 class, suited up for Braden River High in Bradenton, Fla.
And he has made up for lost time during his first season on the gridiron.
Upshaw — the son of former NFL defensive end Regan Upshaw and the younger brother of Clemson freshman linebacker Regan Upshaw Jr. — has excelled as a defensive end, caught the attention of colleges and already has a number of scholarship offers to his name.
“I always wanted to play but I wasn’t developed or mentally ready to play,” Upshaw said during an interview with The Clemson Insider. “My dad’s been a big help in the process.”
Upshaw helped Braden River go 9-1 and make it to the second round of the playoffs, and in a short amount of time, he has collected offers from California, Navy, Northwestern, Pittsburgh, UCF, USF and Vanderbilt.
“It’s a blessing with every offer I’ve received,” Upshaw said.
This season, Upshaw has taken trips to Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, UCF and USF.
He visited Clemson on Nov. 12 for its game against Pittsburgh.
“It was awesome,” Upshaw said. “The atmosphere is unlike any place. Great fan base.”
Earlier this year, Regan Jr. accepted a preferred walk-on spot at Clemson and enrolled in the school over the summer.
And during his recent visit, Taylor found out about a potential chance to join Regan Jr. in a Clemson uniform.
“I spoke with coach (Brent) Venables and coach (Marion) Hobby,” Taylor said. “Coach Venables and the staff loved my film, especially for it being my first year of playing football. They wanted to hear what I thought about the idea of greyshirting and being a part of the 2019 class.”
So, what does Taylor think of that idea?
“Well it’s not actually a bad idea,” he said, “because with being so new to the game, an extra year to develop might help me improve.”
At first, Clemson didn’t realize Regan Jr. had a brother. Once Clemson discovered Taylor, though, they watched his film and it piqued their interest.
“They didn’t know my brother had a brother,” Upshaw said. “So once they did, they watched my film and loved it.”
Besides the schools that have offered, Taylor is attracting interest from Florida State, Georgia, Houston and North Carolina.
As for Clemson, it presents a strong option and opportunity for Taylor.
“The program is something special,” Taylor said. “It is really like a family, and that is something not every college possesses.”
Photo Credit: Bradenton.com