Will Taylor is busy preparing for his second season with Clemson’s football team, but baseball is never too far from the sophomore wideout’s mind.
Of course, Taylor played both sports for Clemson over the past year, though his first football season resulted in him missing most of his freshman baseball season this spring. Taylor is still wearing a brace on his surgically repaired right knee, a visual reminder of the torn ACL he suffered just five games into his football career at Clemson.
The injury forced the Irmo native out of action until the latter part of the spring, when Taylor finally made his debut for the Tigers on the diamond. He started all 13 games he played this past baseball season either in the outfield or as a designated hitter, hitting .260 with one home run and four RBIs in 50 at-bats.
Taylor said earlier this month that he no longer has any pain related to his injury and that he’s “100% confident” in the knee now that he’s 10 months removed from surgery. Asked if the injury made him reconsider playing both sports in the future in order to limit the wear and tear on his body, Taylor said his mindset was just the opposite.
“Not at all,” he said. “I was actually more thankful I was able to play two sports because it’s just a blessing to be able to run, jump and just be out here and play. That’s what I learned. Just very thankful to be out here and be able to do that.”
When Taylor does return to the baseball team next year, he’ll do so with a new coach leading the Tigers’ program. Following the baseball team’s second straight NCAA Tournament miss, Monte Lee was fired after six seasons at the helm and replaced by Erik Bakich, a former Clemson assistant who spent the last decade as the head coach at Michigan.
Taylor said he’s eager to meet and chat with Bakich, something he said he hasn’t had a chance to do yet because of their schedules.
“I know he’s been out recruiting, and we’ve been busy over here at football,” Taylor said. “But excited to see what the future holds and excited to get over there and play for him.”
Taylor will first try to get through a football season with a clean bill of health. A versatile playmaker who even took some direct snaps last season, Taylor has been repping in the slot and as a punt returner during fall camp. He caught two passes for six yards and returned seven kicks for 78 yards in five games a season ago.
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