Davion Taylor’s Friday Night Lights experience growing up in Magnolia. Miss., ended before the lights ever came on before each game.
All week he practiced with his teammates, but because he grew up a Seventh Day Adventist, he could not play on Friday or Saturday because that was the Sabbath.
So before home games, Taylor would fill water bottles for his friends and stroll onto the field to make sure everything was just right then go home, which was only about two or three minutes from the field.
Sometimes, he would open a window or door to hear the PA announcer or the crowd cheer. He would get texts reading “we wish you were here” or “we just got scored on.”
“It hurt me not being able to be on the field, but I tried to support them the best way I can,” said Taylor on a conference call after the Eagles made him their third-round pick around midnight on Friday in the NFL draft.
He was a state champion sprinter and triple jumper, but missed the state meet as a junior because it was on a Saturday.
When Taylor turned 18, he made the decision that he wanted to play football and his mother agreed, allowing him to change his observance and play football on Saturday.
He walked onto the team at Coahoma Community College in nearby Clarksville. Almost didn’t make the team but he ended up starting and getting recruited by Colorado.
Each year, Taylor’s game improved, and, at 6-0, 230, he’s still not done improving.
He made 52 tackles in 2018 and 69 in 2019 while he continued to run track, finishing sixth in the 100 meters at the Pac-12 Outdoor Championships.
“I think my learning progress throughout these four years has been great,” said Taylor. “Reason why I say that is once I went into JUCO, I wanted to learn. I came in there, coach would teach me, I would ask so many questions after practice. If I was doing something wrong wanted to make sure I did it right.
“That’s the mentality I had all four years. I wanted to learn. I had this itch to keep on learning about the game. Each game seemed to get better on the field.
“At the next level I still have that itch to keep on learning. The more I learn more I’ll be able to compete and become a better player.”
Taylor ran a 4.49 40 at the Combine with a vertical jump of 35 inches. By then, he had already been on the Eagles’ radar.
Vice president of player personnel Andy Weidl made a trip to Eugene, Ore., last fall to watch the Buffaloes play the Ducks, who were being quarterbacked by Justin Herbert, who was taken sixth overall by the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday night.
The Eagles’ interest picked up at the Combine and Taylor started getting phone calls from defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and linebacker coach Ken Flajole.
His ceiling is high.
“(NFL) teams wanted to know if I was burned out from playing,” said Taylor. “I was telling teams I want to learn the game. I’ll probably get on their nerves because I’ll come in for extra meetings, come in for extra work because I want to be a better player, I want to be on the field, so I’m going to do whatever I can do to become that great player and be productive on the field and just help the Eagles get some wins.”