The Beast Is Back: A Healthy Taylor Ready to Contribute

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – The beast is back.

Clemson’s Rendrick Taylor walked off of the Tiger practice field on Tuesday evening sporting a smile that was brighter than the lights on the towers, and he made it known that he hopes his injury woes are behind him and he can contribute to the football team this fall.

“This feels really, really good,” a tired Taylor said after the practice. “I have had a lot of adversity in the past couple of years, but that is all in the past and now I am looking forward to this season. I had a good practice today, and the tempo was there. It got a little rough there at the end, but I had some perseverance and it wound up being a great practice.”

Taylor signed with Clemson out of Marlboro County High School in 2005, but his career has been marred by a litany of injuries – missed all of 2008 due to injury, missed six games in 2006 with a broken arm, missed four games in 2007 with a severely-pulled hamstring, and missed a game in 2005 with a broken wrist [he played several games that season with it wrapped].

However, Taylor is the only active Tiger to have played in a bowl win [the 2005 Champs Sports Bowl against Colorado), and the Tigers are 20-7 when Taylor plays and just 12-12 when he misses a game.

This season, Taylor will see time at fullback, tailback, tight end and in the slot at wide receiver, and he said that he will play wherever the coaches put him.

“I am going to be the lead block guy on third and fourth down and a short yardage back down near the goal line, playing some tight end, moving in motion, out into the slot and running pass routes,” Taylor said. “I love being that big target in the slot, and I want the ball. Down on the goal line, I want the ball, because I know I will be determined to score, to get into the end zone.

“The past couple of months of playing running back have taught me how to play behind my pads and I feel like there are not too many people that can stop me as long as I play behind my pads. That has been one thing that [running backs coach Andre] Coach Powell has been coaching me on, to bend my knees and get behind my pads and get into the end zone.”

The 6-foot-2 Taylor checked in with the coaches on Monday and weighed in at 264 pounds and said he is close to being where he needs to be for the start of the season.

“In the off-season, I did a lot of weight room work and cardio, and worked really hard,” he said. “Doing the cardio got my weight down, because I got really heavy at one point, but I feel like I am chiseled again. Now I am just going to go out there and have fun and hopefully stay healthy.”

When asked how he would feel if his block sprung C.J. Spiller for a long touchdown, the million dollar smile returned.

“That is going to feel like I scored,” Taylor said. “If my block springs him, and I see him headed toward the end zone, I am going to be running right behind him to celebrate, because I know without my block he might not have made it. I am just a team guy, a team player, and I just want to do whatever I can to help this team win.”

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