Clemson signee Will Taylor will start his college career as a quarterback. But while head coach Dabo Swinney loves what Taylor can do as a signal-caller, he believes the talented athlete from Dutch Fork High School has the potential to be special as a wide receiver – the position Swinney expects Taylor to ultimately end up playing as a Tiger.
“The big thing for me in watching him continue to play quarterback was realizing that he legitimately could play quarterback for us and win for us,” Swinney said. “I think his long-term future is playing receiver, and I could be wrong about that, but we’ll see. But that’s kind of our plan.”
According to Swinney, the Tigers intend to train Taylor as a quarterback during his first year in the program before transitioning him to receiver.
“We expect him to move to wideout, and I really do think that he’s got a chance to be elite as a receiver – really special,” Swinney said. “But, it might be three years from now, and he’s been a great wideout for a couple years, but he will always have the foundation of quarterback. Because we’re going to take him this first year and we’re going to really teach him as a quarterback, and then the plan is to move him. But again, he’ll always have that foundation in play.”
Swinney first took notice of Taylor’s potential as a receiver when he participated in one of Clemson’s summer football camps as an underclassman in high school.
As impressive as Taylor was while working out with the quarterbacks, Swinney was blown away right away when he saw Taylor showcase his skills at receiver.
“He was working quarterback, and he’s dynamic as a quarterback. Doesn’t take long to realize that,” Swinney said. “He can make the throws, he can create, he can do it all. He’s not quite as big as you would like in a quarterback, but there’s a lot of guys that aren’t quite as big as you’d hope that are great players at that position. But I really wanted to kind of just see him as a receiver.
“And so, we took him in a practice in camp, and I put him over at wideout. We just kind of wanted to see how natural it was, and it took about two minutes. First of all, he can fly. I mean, he can flat-out run. His acceleration makes him special. His ability to accelerate vertically, but also his lateral quickness, and then he’s got great ball skills, very natural ball skills. Very confident kid, and just a ball player.”
Taylor starred at quarterback for Dutch Fork as a senior in 2020, throwing for 2,237 yards and 21 touchdowns with just four interceptions, and rushing for 448 yards and 11 touchdowns while leading his team to the 5A state championship – its fifth consecutive state title.
Taylor – a two-sport standout who will also play for head coach Monte Lee and the Clemson baseball team – plans to enroll this summer.
“We’re really excited about what he brings to the table,” Swinney said. “We think he’s a guy that’s going to have a great career here. He can be a returner. He can do a lot of things. But the fact that he’s a winner, he’s a great kid, he’s a great student. Coach Knotts (Dutch Fork head coach Tom Knotts) and coming from the program he’s coming from. The competitiveness, multi-sport guy. Excels at a high level in multi sports. We love those type of guys, and we think he’ll be a great fit for us.”