Although many senior student-athletes are frustrated by the season’s end, especially if their recruiting dreams were hinging on their final seasons, others already have a plan for next year. And just because their high school seasons are over doesn’t mean they can stop now.
Dadeville’s Josh Taylor is committed to play football at Faulkner University in the fall. He planned to spend this spring with the Tiger track and field team, which was hunting down a state championship, and using that as a springboard to keep in shape before reporting to Faulkner. Now Taylor doesn’t have that option, but he’s not going to sit down and do nothing.
Instead, he and his father, Michael Taylor, who is an assistant football coach at Dadeville and has done a lot for athletics in the community, essentially built their own combine facility behind their home.
“It’s actually basically like a field,” Josh said. “I’m just using it to keep working for when I go into Faulkner. It really keeps me in shape and gets me ready for when I get there.”
Using a few simple supplies coach Taylor already had on hand, he and his son set to work Thursday morning to create the field. It is complete with yard lines to work on Josh’s 40-yard dash, cone drills and footwork stations.
“The biggest thing of all sports is they have the footwork drills,” coach Taylor said. “You can have a three-cone drill to a five-cone drill; we even have what’s called an L drill set up. You don’t need anything but cones to do any kind of combine and that’s something people don’t think about. You can go to Dollar General and get a $3 can of paint and draw 80 circles and yard lines, so we’re using that.”
And coach Taylor was quick to point out even if a family doesn’t have access to cones like he does from spending so much time with Dadeville’s athletic program, people can use simple household items to mark off places for drills. Instead of a cone, parents could set up kitchen pots for footwork drills or set up string in place of yard lines he’s marked with paint.
“Right now, parents don’t know what to do,” coach Taylor said. “They’re just like seniors for this year; they’ve completely almost given up. They think kids might not get their chance to get a scholarship or be recruited because they don’t have a season but this is a way out. This is the same drills we’ve been doing at practice.
“I just set this up (Thursday) morning and I’ve already had about 80 calls from parents asking how they could do the same.”
Although he might be getting a more structured workout at the gym or with teammates, Josh knows doing something is better than doing nothing.
“For me, basically I just encourage anybody to be as great as they can be,” Josh said. “I tell people to get work in all the time — be weight lifting or do stretching, running. Even for the guys at Dadeville, even though I’m not going to be on the team next year, I want to be like a big brother to them for the next few seasons.”