After spending the fall with Clemson’s football team, Will Taylor is preparing for his first collegiate baseball season. The most important part of that process for the two-sport freshman is getting healthy.
Taylor was Clemson’s primary punt returner in the fall before tearing his ACL. He suffered the injury against Boston College on Oct. 2 and had surgery shortly thereafter. That timeline means Taylor is just roughly three months removed from the operation he needed to repair the ligament, but Clemson baseball coach Monte Lee said Taylor is making a quick recovery.
“Will was here (Wednesday) and was in great spirits,” Lee told The Clemson Insider on Thursday. “He played catch and moved around a little bit. He hasn’t started swinging the bat yet, so he’ll begin that process of getting back to swinging the bat and moving around here in a couple of weeks. Once he begins that, then we’ll get a chance to see where he is at leading into the preseason.”
Lee added he expects Taylor to begin a running program as part of his rehabilitation in a couple of weeks. Clemson’s baseball team is slated to begin practice for the 2022 season later this month.
Lee said he doesn’t anticipate Taylor being available for the Tigers’ season-opening series against Indiana starting Feb. 18, but Taylor is expected to play at some point this spring.
“Once we get a little bit closer to March 1, I think we’ll have a little bit of a better sense of where he’s at on that timetable of being able to return,” Lee said.
Whenever that happens, Lee said he’s going to find a way to get Taylor in the lineup. Taylor likely would’ve been a high-round pick in last summer’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft had he chosen that route coming out of Irmo’s Dutch Fork High School, but the 6-foot, 175-pound outfielder opted to put the professional ranks on hold in order to play football and baseball and football at Clemson.
Lee said the baseball team has a “special talent” in Taylor, adding Taylor has to be considered one of the most talented freshmen in the country.
“He’s a game-changer speed-wise,” Lee said. “He can really hit. Very dynamic athlete. High-makeup competitor. So we’re really excited about what he’s going to bring to the table. We just have to kind of wait and see what that recovery time looks like for Will.”
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