THE NEXT LEVEL With Taylor Rank
February 10, 2009
- Taylor Rank
- 6’0″ 216 lbs
- South Carolina Gamecocks (Junior)
- Running Back
- 2007 Most Improved Running Back
- Evergreen Plainsmen (Class of 2005)
- 2 Year Varsity Letterman
- 2 Time All-League
- 2 Time All-Region
- 2004 Washington AP 4A Player Of The Year
- 2004 Seattle Times Class 4A State MVP
Who influenced you the most as a High School football player?
Taylor – There are so many people who had a positive influence on me as a high school football player but I believe Jesse Monk made a lasting impression on me from the first days i got to evergreen. I remember meeting Jesse and seeing how hard he worked and he didn’t ever let anyone tell him he was to small or couldn’t get it done. He was always quietly working his tail off to prove to people that he could get it done. He also showed me what type of work it took to be a good player at Evergreen.
What was your favorite TV show in high school?
Taylor – The Ultimate Fighter
I wasn’t always the biggest, fastest, or strongest… but i knew for a fact that the person i was lining up against had not and would not outwork me
Did you have any game day/game time rituals in high school? If so, what were they?
Taylor – I had several game time rituals that started as soon as school was let out. I would drive home after spending a few minutes with my teammates to get all my equipment and uniform etc… I would then usually be the first one to report to the locker room at evergreen. I would then always get taped and dressed in the same order. Finally before it was time to get prepared and walk through i would go into the weight room and do three reps of squat with about 405 just to make sure i was ready to go…
What was your most memorable moment (so far) playing college football?
Taylor – Starting in the 08′ season opener and recording my first career touchdown.
How many different positions did you play from youth football through the end of your HS career? If you could have chosen another position other than running back, what would have it been?
Taylor – I first started playing Pop Warner ball as a TE and DL back in the 5th 6th grade. When i reached middle school i then switched to quarter back, wing back, and strong safety. My career as a Tailback started when i moved to Washington. If i had to choose another position it would either have to be Quarterback or Strong Safety.
What was your most memorable moment playing high school football?
Taylor – My most memorable moment as a high school football player is really a combination of 2 things. The first has to be when we edged out Gonzaga Prep by a point to finally take a SW Washington team to the state championship. Second and certainly the greatest feeling i have experienced as a football player was winning the 4A state championship!
Xbox, PS3, or Wii?
Taylor – Xbox
Explain your recruiting process. How many schools did you visit? Did anything interesting happen during this process?
Taylor – My recruiting process was very enjoyable yet stressful at the same time. I was a high school kid playing football trying to help my team win a state championship and at the same time was trying to decide where i really wanted to spend the next 4-5 years of my college career.. I went to several different school on both official and unofficial visits such as Oregon, Washington, Georgia Tech, California, Stanford, Montana State, and South Carolina. Late in the process was when i decided to go to USC and play for Coach Spurrier which is an opportunity i am very glad i took advantage of.
Our team was very close and even though i didnt grow up playing with most of my HS teammates they accepted me and made me feel as though i did.
Do you have an iPhone?
Taylor – No, BlackJack 2
What is your favorite TV show now?
Taylor – Entourage
Do you prefer Madden or NCAA? Why?
Taylor – NCAA, love the Spread Option
What would you tell young kids entering high school is the most important thing (besides school) they need to do to become an elite level player?
Taylor – I was always told that hard work pays of more so than talent alone. Work ethic is key to becoming an elite player in my mind. I wasn’t always the biggest, fastest, or strongest when i played, but i knew for a fact that the person i was lining up against had not and would not outwork me on or off the field. I truly believe that is the reason i was successful and had a chance to play at the next level.
What was your most embarrassing moment playing high school football?
Taylor – It was in the playoffs of my senior year. We were beating Edmonds-Woodway in the playoffs at the start of the 4th quarter. We ran a zone to the right and i didn’t even see a lineback that was running through. He caught me in the chest and made me do sort of a backwards somersault when he tackled me for a loss. That was my last carry of the game and i begged coach to let me redeem myself but didn’t get the chance. Thats always been an embarrassing moment for me…
Do you have any game day/game time rituals in college? If so, what were they?
Taylor – My main college ritual was to get taped and dressed in all but uppers as soon as we arrived at the stadium we were to be playing. After that all the running backs would head onto the field to toss the ball around, get warmed up, and used to the atmosphere of the stadium before game time.
Explain a typical week during football season with class, practice, game, other time.
Taylor – We do things on a pretty exact schedule every day. Players lift either Mon-Wed, or Tue-Thu at a time that fits with their class schedule on those days. Meetings start early afternoon followed by practice. Fridays after class we depart for our game destination and we would stay in a hotel as a team the night before the game where we would have meetings and time to get mentally and physically prepared for the game.
Compare your relationship with your high school teammates to that of your college teammates. Assuming that you grew up with most of your high school teammates for years prior to playing together with them, and your college teammates came from all over the country.
Taylor – I believe i had a very special connection with my high school teammates. Our team was very close and even though i didnt grow up playing with most of my HS teammates they accepted me and made me feel as though i did. College was a similar thing in the aspect that i didnt grow up with them but college had a little different feel. We are all friends and spend lots of time together and i do play for them we we take the field on saturday. But there is something about HS and winning a state championship with the boys u spend everyday with in the same town that forms a unique bond.
Who influenced you the most as a college football player?
Taylor – I believe the person who influenced me as a college football player would have to be my father. Through the good times and the bad he was always there giving me advice drawing from his own experience as a college player and one who played under Coach Spurrier as well. It was always helpful and gave me motivation and insight on what i could do to be better…
What was your most embarrassing moment playing college football?
Taylor – I had broken a long run and practice and was about to make a cut to go into the end zone and i got careless with the ball and kneed it out of my own arm… coaches weren’t too happy but everyone had a laugh during film about it….
Who is your favorite musical artist?
Taylor – Killswitch Engage
How much college football do you get to watch during the season? (not counting film sessions)
Taylor – It depends on whether we play on Thursday or Saturday. We only get to watch a few quarters on the days we play on Saturday but if we have a Thursday night game most of us get together and watch most of the ball games on Saturday
In the LSU game this season when Stephen Garcia got tackled by the ref, explain what the SC players were saying on the sidelines?
Taylor – That was a very close game when that took place so we definitely werent happy about it but the ref is part of the field and no one single play determines the outcome of a ball game so we just tried to roll through it… but afterwords we were comparing it to the beer commercial when that ref takes out the player for one haha…
What is it like playing TB offense for a coach in Steve Spurrier that likes to pass so much?
Taylor – We put a lot of emphasis on pass protection and taking care of the football. Coach spurrier also knows to be a truly affective offense you must be ablt to run the ball. So when we get a chance to touch the football we try and take advantage and get the most out of each opportunity.