August 10, 2008

Versatile Taylor ready to make mark

If there is one word to describe Kerry Taylor, it's versatile.

Although the sophomore is currently in the mix to be ASU's starting slot receiver, Taylor can play any of the three wide receiver positions -- something he takes a lot of pride in.

"That's really important to my success," Taylor said of his versatility. "I like the fact that I can go at any position and that really helps me out with always staying on the field. Hopefully I can make it to the next level and scouts will see that, see that I can do things at all the different wide receiver spots."

And Taylor isn't the only one who likes the fact that he can line up at so many positions.

Coach Dennis Erickson knows how valuable of a weapon Taylor can be.

"He can play inside, he can play outside, that's what's great about it," Erickson said. "He's really worked to become better and he has, you can tell it."

And when ASU lines up in its four-wide receiver sets this fall Taylor will always have a spot on the field.

"Those four wide sets are great because we have a lot of really good receivers and putting us all on the field at the same time will make it difficult for the defense," he said. "I'm definitely excited to see what we can do with it in a game, but I don't want to watch from the sideline. I want to be out there for that. I don't care where I'm lined up I just want to be out there."

But being that versatile didn't come easy; Taylor has put in the work.

At ASU media day, Rudy Carpenter singled out Taylor as being one of the hardest working guys over the summer.

Taylor and several of the other wide receivers worked out four days a week with Carpenter, and the payoff has been noticeable.

The passing game has been extremely in sync for this time of year, and Taylor credits that to the extra time spent running routes.

And besides getting their timing down, that extra time spent with Carpenter has really improved the wide receivers' relationship with the quarterback, and that too has contributed to the early success.

"We're (the wide receivers and Carpenter) are all on the same page this year," Taylor said. "Last year, with the first year in this offense, we still had a couple of questions about how we wanted to run some things. But this year we worked out a lot of that stuff over the summer. So we definitely feel a lot more confident as a group."

And as if his versatility and work ethic weren't enough, Taylor is taking on another roll as well.

Taylor, a Hamilton High School alum, is taking on the task of mentoring one of his former high school and current ASU teammate Gerell Robinson.

Coming from the same system, Taylor knows what Robinson is going through and knows how to help him.

"He was in the same boat I was in last year," Taylor said of Robinson. "I know how to help him out. I know which areas he's going to need help in because those were the same areas I needed help in last year. I can definitely relate with him well and I think he's going to be a great player for us.

"I'm just trying to help him out as much as I can. Coming from the same offense at Hamilton I can relate plays from there to here and show him how to run them and we have the same terminology. So it definitely helps out with working with him and teaching him."

And with the addition of Robinson to an already deep receiving corps, Taylor believes ASU's offense is ready to make some national headlines.

"We're definitely probably the deepest (group of receivers) in the country in my opinion," he said. "We have a lot of guys so we can all stay fresh in games with a rotation and in practice just help each other out.

"We're just trying to take it to the next level, get us to a Rose Bowl and a National Championship Game."

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