We talk all the time about various players being over rated or under rated. Arm chair pundits amd self annointed gurus like to break high school kids down as if they can put labels on them and sort out every pound of their flesh as to its worth at the collegiate level. And with all that slicing and dicing of film and pontification and prognostication things get too complex. Over-analyzed. Over-cooked if you will.
Our goal has always been to shine the light on the possible and to envision the best version of an athlete not for what he or she is right now, after all they are High School kids, but rather what they will be at the collegiate level.
Now one kid that really needs to be looked at in that light is Tatum Taylor of O'Dea High School. Don't get me wrong. He is a top 5 recruit on all the big boards in the NW but in the Nation he has yet to be given his due.
And that is a mistake. A big one.
Because this young man has the one thing he needs to be better then all of the rest in the country. Speed. And not bragging rights down-at -the-field-with-your-boys BS type speed. No.
Tatum has internatioanlly recognized Olympic mili-second split timed speed.
He is currently the #1 indoor runner in the Nation for the 60 Meters with a blazing 6.79. He established himself as one of the fastest 100 M runners in the Nation with a 10.58 sec time last track season when he was a Sophomore.
The fact is there are few if any faster then Tatum. The kid is the elite of the elite.
That speed unleashed on the football field in his 5'11", 165 pound frame is a nightmare for opposing defenses. He proved that last season helping his team to the State Title game against the #5 team in the Nation; Bellevue. He was effective but really Bellevue was just too much. His work as a DB was All State / All Region and he got that credit too. His work as a Tail Back exemplerary where he averaged 13 yards a touch and had 13 Td's spliiting time with upper classmen at that spot.
As a Corner and Kick return specialist he is alos an elite guy and was a walking highlight reel when he had his chance.
But as a slot he is going to be almost unstoppable. Once he is moving and gets open forget about it. That speed is going to take over and his hands rarely fail him.
So we looked at those speeds and at that frame of his with those wide shoulders and that lean muscular build. And we reflected on his style of play and realized that right here in the Pacific NW is a kid that reminds us of Tatum and he is doing pretty well for himself in the collegiate ranks. Maybe you have heard of him.
What's his name? Black Mamba? Oh yah… DeAnthony Thomas of Oregon who is already on the Heisman watch lists.
Now we assumed Thomas was a sprinter so we looked up his history. There he was.
10.58 100 Meter time in High school as a regional champ in California and a 6.6 second indoor 60 Meter time. Legitimate blazing speed that is irrefutable.
The very small difference between these guys is the weight and height. Taylor is a bit bigger all around.
Both have played several positions and are/were recrutiable at several positions. And both have that "X" factor. The ability to break a game wide open and dominate their portion of the field.
Now here is the point. Tatum Taylor should be a 3 or 4 Star pre-season guy by all the major networks. And he will be.
He should have 5-10 najor schools offering him; and he will eventually.
But when a new comer like MIke Leach who has developed talent like Wes Welker and Michael Crabtree comes along to the NW and watches film for a few minutes and says "get me this kid" it begs the point. We can not get out of our own way to admit that he is that good.
Leach did just that. He offerd the talented O'Dea Junior and has not met him nor seen him live. But he does not have to. He is looking for Elite pieces to his offensive masterpiece that complex as it is will thrive with talent like Taylor plugged in.
"The offer is awesome. I have some others you know but that first Pac 12 Offer is big. And to play slot for Mike Leach at WSU is possibly a great fit for me." said a very exited Taylor.
Leach sees what we see.
Tatum Taylor is a 10 offer kid. The Huskies should not wait. They need to move on him now if they want him. Even if they do offer he is already realizing he might be beter off at WSU where it is certain that Mike Leach has told him he will develop into one of the top Slot-Backs in the Nation potentially.
In Leach's offense why couldn't he?
Back to the Black Mamba. Oregon is going to make their future around this speedster and they would be wise to bank their odds and burn one of there many scholarships on a likely Black Mamba 2.0 which is Tatum Taylor 1.0. They get him as a FB player and the track teams gets another elite sprinter and life goes on at the Big "O".
Are we tracking here? Getting the picture?
Our kids in the NW have proven time and again they rise to the top. Every year they just do. This season the #1 QB in the Nation as ranked by Rivals.com is … anyone?? Bueller? Bueller?
You guessed it. The 50 offer waterboy turned wunderkind QB Max Browne of Skyline HS in Seattle.
And what about the Nations #1 RB? Anyone? Anyone……?
Yes folks. The 6'0" 215 Pound Version of DeAnthony Thomas and Tatum Taylor who hails from Aloha High School in Aloha, Oregon.
Thomas Tyner. The 10.38 100 Meter Monster is the #1 RB in the Nation by Rivals.com and most other services.
There is no need for an East Coast or Texas-Florida-California bias that says to make adjustments for the fact that "He plays in the NW so we have to keep that in mind". Really? Good. Please do. Kids like these are just a sampling of the the guys we have stacked up deep. They are smart, tough, fast, and they play to win.
Tatum Taylor is being overlooked. Period.
Now if any of you doubt that at this point and want to consider my decade of 100 hour weeks coaching, analyzing, and projecting America's best kids into college the ravings of a lunatic then please do so.
The rest of you would be wise to do two things.
1: Watch the Video Below of Tatum Taylor's 2011 highlights and
2: Get after him. If you do you will be going after a two sport star athlete but an even better student and person.
WIth that boys and girls I am out! Have a great day. And consider what I have said here when reviewing all of our kids. Last years #1 OT and #2 OG came from here and we had a few other guys that were rated in the top 10 in the nation over the past decade. One of them was a guy named Suh who was rated #56 his Senior year. So the water is warm and we welcome you to come on in and have a look at our terrific NW Kids right here.
Top 100 in Oregon for 2013 Class
Top 100 in Washington for 2013 Class