Washington receiver Kendyl Taylor tries to work his way up the depth chart
Washington receiver Kendyl Taylor, a redshirt sophomore last season, is trying to remind others that he’s still here and that he’s ready to play.
Seattle Times staff reporter
UW QB Quick Reads, Day 7
Observations and highlights in the competition for the Huskies’ starting quarterback job:
The good: The throw of the day again goes to redshirt freshman Troy Williams, who has showed a nice touch on deep balls. He did it Sunday against the No. 1 defense when he scrambled to the right and threw a long pass to WR John Ross, who, despite a slight limp, was two steps past CB Marcus Peters and hauled in the easy 53-yard touchdown.
The bad: The rate of interceptions and turnovers has declined since the first few days, but there are still too many, offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith said. He attributed that to two things: An overload of new information thrown at the quarterbacks, plus the strength of UW’s veteran defensive front, which was dominant at times in the first week of camp.
Of note: Williams, Jeff Lindquist and Cyler Miles continue to share snaps about evenly. The Huskies are scheduled to scrimmage for the first time on Monday, and that could be the first chance for one of the quarterbacks to separate himself.
Quotes: Smith, on the QB competition: “It’s a process. We haven’t set a timetable on anything and we’re not near a decision, but those three are working hard.”
You would be forgiven if you had forgotten about Washington receiver Kendyl Taylor.
You wouldn’t be the only one.
Three speedy UW receivers who call themselves the ‘Legion of Zoom’ failed to include him in their club.
Taylor, you see, is a bit of a mystery.
The 5-foot-10, 202-pound sophomore from Chandler, Ariz., redshirted in 2013. That, on the surface, isn’t unusual; 14 other UW players redshirted last season, and another dozen or so will do the same this season.
What made Taylor’s situation rare is he redshirted during his second season on campus, after playing as a true freshman in 2012. For a player who is healthy, and who has already contributed, that’s almost unheard of.
“It was definitely a humbling experience,” said Taylor, named Arizona’s top recruit in the Class of 2012 by Rivals.com. “A lot of us have always been ‘the guy’ or the main go-to; especially playing my freshman year (for UW) and then just disappearing, I kind of lost it a little bit.”
As a true freshman, Taylor started at running back against No. 3 Louisiana State in September 2012, then spent much of that season as UW’s second-string back. He averaged 6 yards on his 35 carries that year, and also had a touchdown reception.
With Bishop Sankey established at running back last year, and with quality depth at the wide receiver position, UW’s previous coaching staff didn’t see much opportunity for Taylor to play.
So he sat.
Chris Petersen and the new coaching staff arrived in December, and by the spring Taylor had a chance to prove himself again.
“Right now, I’m the underdog, man,” he said. “I’m on the bottom of the list trying to work my way up.”
Taylor flashed some of his potential at the end of the spring during the first “Husky Combine” event — set up much like the NFL Combine to test players’ conditioning and strength.
He posted the team’s fastest time in the pro agility drill (a hand-time 3.90 seconds) and had the No. 1 vertical jump of 40.5 inches. He was also top five in the 40-yard dash and the three-cone drill.
“I’m competitive, so I’m trying to win at everything,” said Taylor, whose father Keith played cornerback for nine seasons in the NFL. “(The combine) was a pretty good day for me. I felt like I showed what I could do. It reopened the eyes for the coaches that, ‘Wow, he’s really got some potential,’ which was nice.”
His teammates in the Legion of Zoom also took notice.
“When I posted the ‘big numbers’ (his air quotes) out at the pro day, they were like, ‘Ohh. You want to come in (the LOZ)?’” Taylor said. “And I was like, ‘Nope. You guys left me out, so I’ll just worry about myself.’”
This season, as Taylor works his way back up the depth chart, the goal is to remind a few others he’s still here, too.
• Speedy sophomore receiver John Ross, who sat out Saturday’s practice with a boot on his left foot, returned to the field Sunday and hauled in a 53-yard touchdown catch from Troy Williams. Senior tight end Michael Hartivgson also returned after missing Saturday’s practice with an apparent arm injury.
• The Huskies are scheduled to scrimmage for the first time on Monday. The practice is closed to the media and the public.