PHILADELPHIA - Davion Taylor just wanted an opportunity at a Power 5 school and the University of Colorado just happened to be the first one that showed some interest.
For a Mississippi native, the Rocky Mountains might not seem like a natural fit but Taylor quickly fell in love with his surroundings after transferring in from Coahoma Community College in the Magnolia State.
"That was the first Power 5 school to offer me," Taylor said on Thursday as the Eagles (3-6) prepare to play the Denver Broncos (5-4) on Sunday (4:25 p.m./CBS). "Coming out of junior college and trying to get a D1 offer and trying to get a Power 5 offer. Like when they offered me I committed on the spot."
Like many young people Taylor wanted a challenge and a chance to spread his wings away from home.
"I wanted to step out of Mississippi, wanting to get out of my comfort zone and just start all over," Taylor said. "And I feel like that was like the perfect place to go. And I fell in love with the mountains, the culture just the place overall. I just didn't regret it at all."
Taylor spent two years in Boulder, arriving as a raw, athletic prospect who played just one high school football game due to his Seventh Day Adventist faith into a legitimate NFL linebacking prospect the Eagles drafted at No. 103 overall in 2020 after Taylor ran a 4.49 at 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds.
"They helped me develop tremendously up there. I felt like I learned the game," Taylor said of his time at Colorado. "I've learned like the X's and O's of the game there. ... So those two years really shaped my life and I wouldn't take them back for the world."
Sunday's game against the Broncos won't be the first time Taylor steps onto Empower Field at Mile High, however.
"I stepped in that stadium, we played the Colorado State, and I remember telling myself that one day I'll be playing here [as a professional]," Taylor said. "I'm going to see my dreams actually come true."
He'll also serve as a bit of a sounding board for dealing with the altitude of the Mile High City.
"I do remember the first time, my official visit actually," he said. "As soon as I stepped off the plane I thought the air was thinner. I was out of breath so like it was a big change. And then when I actually got up there and I started training there, I was able to see what everybody was talking about with the altitude.
"How you can get tired faster like the air is thinner. So the first couple of weeks I was adjusting and it was it was a hard adjustment because it's a different change and my body just wasn't used to it.
"But as I got adjusted to it, it was great for me and I was able to just get in really good shape. Now I feel like once you get out of Colorado and play it other states, you can feel the difference that you can feel like how the air really is a big difference compared to Colorado."
Taylor's return Sunday won't be his last and that's not foreshadowing a trade to the Broncos. He's made the area his second home.
"I go back during the offseason. I go back all the time to train, wanting to get that altitude advantage," he said. "... It's like a second home now. I always go back and do some hiking, seeing some old friends, or just going back to Boulder.
"I feel like it's a place I'm always just gonna go back."
-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.