Transfer Taylor set to make IU football impact


When Indiana University assistant football coach Kevin Wright made a casual comment, it was serious, not sarcastic, though somewhat humorous.

“I’m looking forward to meeting him,” the Hoosiers’ tight end coach said of Khameron Taylor, who happens to be one of his players.

Sign of the times. After graduating from the University of South Alabama, Taylor transferred to Indiana for his final year of football eligibility. His getting-to-know-you party was scheduled for spring practice.

However, spring activities shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so Taylor is pretty much a mystery man. If you want to see him play, check out South Alabama game film somewhere, or in the case of his new team, make a virtual connection.

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The 6-foot-4, 270-pound Taylor, from Alachua, Florida, before he joined the Jaguars, is pretty much a mountain of a tight end. Although he refers to himself as a hybrid who can block and receive, Taylor weathered a 2-10 campaign last fall and did not catch many balls.

He switched to IU for a fresh start and perhaps an enhanced role for a Big Ten team that finished 8-5. Taylor was encouraged by the recruiting texts he received that fit with his personal game plan to improve as a football player.

Taylor felt IU “had my best interests at heart. It seemed like everything was pointing toward IU.” He wanted a new team where the coaches “would bring the most out of me.”

Although Taylor was listed as a lineman-sized tight end, he said he would prefer to play at 255 pounds. He believes he can be a more active pass catcher but said “as a player, I think I bring toughness and physicality.”

Such traits are always prized at that position.

Taylor was committed to making his move at an inconvenient time. He missed out on making campus visits to form firsthand impressions of other schools, and with spring practice halted, he missed out on getting to know his teammates and coaches except through technology.

“I couldn’t travel,” Taylor said.

Not ideal. Taylor has been making friends with teammates through technology connections, though it is not the same.

If Taylor wants to talk weirdness in making a transition, he can just chat with Wright. Wright was hired by IU in January, got an apartment in Indiana before spring practice, then when sports shut down for the season, returned to his house in Florida.

He has been coaching long distance, communicating with holdovers and Taylor by Zooming and the like. Players have received marching orders, drills that can get them in shape and keep them in shape, tools to ready them for the day they report for the fall season.

“I think we’ll find out who really stepped up at the end of the day,” Wright said. “Everyone looks great in the virtual world.”

Wright must have vainer Facebook friends who were actually dressing well, eating well and getting haircuts during the coronavirus restrictions to say how great everyone appears in the virtual world.

Though that was not exactly what he meant. Maybe you can fool a coach in the virtual world more than the real world, though the coaches don’t want to believe that.

Taylor presents a possible conundrum for the Hoosiers. Perhaps his potential is so high he can be a game-changer. Or losing out on practice time and having only one season with the program may mean he will peak after the 2020 season.

“You can’t replace experience,” Wright said. “He’s just got to come in and learn the offense.”

And also beat out any holdovers for playing time.

Grant Heard, another IU assistant coach, emphasized how important it is for players to give value to this strange interim to show they are “self-motivated. What you said you’ve been doing is going to be shown.”

Veteran players are going to have to be leaders and help lead the younger guys who do not have the same level of experience, Heard said.

Taylor has experience, but with another team, not automatically a background that tracks precisely with the IU way of doing things. He wants to make an impression in-person.

“I can’t wait,” Taylor said. “I can’t wait to get there. I want to get going.”

So does the rest of college football.

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