However, he takes virtually ever snap for the Red Raiders.
Taylor was recruited by the Vols as a receiver for the Class of 2018 — a position he has rarely played in high school.
“You want your playmakers to have the ball in their hands,” Coffee County coach Ryan Sulkowski said. “By putting him at quarterback, we are assured that he is going to touch the ball.”
Taylor has rushed for 911 yards — fifth best in the Midstate — on 101 carries this season despite playing in just five of Coffee County’s six games. He sat out last week’s 62-0 loss to Oakland after sustaining a leg injury against Riverdale the week prior. However, he is scheduled to play Friday when Coffee County (1-5, 0-3 2-6A) hosts Cookeville (4-2, 1-2).
While Taylor leads the Midstate in rushing among quarterbacks, he is just one of several dual-threat quarterbacks thriving on the ground.
Brentwood Academy quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall accounted for more than 3,000 total yards a season ago in helping the Eagles win the Division II-AA state championship. Oatsvall, an Austin Peay commitment, ran for more than 1,100 yards last year, He has 379 yards rushing this season.
Ensworth coach Ricky Bowers, whose team plays the Eagles on Friday, said slowing down a dual-threat quarterback isn’t easy because of their large skill set.
“What makes him so good as is the case with any great running/throwing quarterback is they can go to the alternative,” Bowers said. “If you take away one thing, that may hurt you worse,”
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Middle Tennessee Christian quarterback Joseph Peck, a second-year starter, has helped the Cougars average 46.8 points a game. He has rushed for 777 yards with 15 rushing touchdowns while passing for 659 yards and eight touchdowns.
“I would say the run part did come more naturally for me,” Peck said. “It’s good to be able to do both with the offense we run. I’ve put a lot of hard work into the passing part.”
MTCS coach Fred Shambaugh said the Cougars’ fast-paced, no-huddle offense has a run option on every pass play he calls. It allows Peck to have an impact with his arm and legs.
“We like to have an RPO — a run/pass option,” Shambaugh said. “Half of my quarterback’s plays on the ground are pass plays. We know what he is doing. Sometimes we even yell ‘run’ if we see something.”
Macon County’s Seth Carlisle has thrived as a dual-threat quarterback, especially on the ground. He has 737 yards on 96 carries and 14 touchdowns this season. That hasn’t surprised Macon County coach Nathan Wilson, who has coached Carlisle since he was a seventh-grader.
Wilson said Carlisle has gotten smarter as a running quarterback, running out of bounds if near the sidelines to avoid a hit.
“He’ll slide more now, too,” Wilson said. “But he’s such a competitor, if the game’s on the line he’s going to get behind the pads and do what it takes.”
Reach Tom Kreager at 615-278-5168 and on Twitter @Kreager.
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