Kelvin Taylor of Glades Day (Belle Glade, Fla.) is certainly not your average freshman.
Most ninth-graders begin high school by getting introduced to freshmen or JV football. Taylor was an all-state selection in eighth grade.
Most ninth-graders are just beginning to grow into their bodies, and are not physically ready for varsity football. The 5-foot-11, 210-pound Taylor is a boy trapped in a grown man’s body.
In 2009, he proved it, rushing for 2,597 yards and a state-record 47 touchdowns on 295 carries. He added two receiving touchdowns, giving him 49 TDs on the season.
Taylor was particularly dominant in the playoffs. In four games, he rushed for 1,158 yards and 19 scores. He was the driving force behind Glades Day’s 1B state championship.
For his efforts, Taylor is the MaxPreps National Freshman of the Year.
"He had a phenomenal season," Glades Day head coach Pete Walker said. "He’s a dynamic football player, but very humble. He’s a fierce competitor, and a leader on our football team."
Walker said that Taylor showed significant improvements from his eighth-grade season, in which he rushed for 1,692 yards and 27 TDs.
"He is bigger, faster and stronger," Walker said. "He did a better job setting up his blocks this year, and did a better job lowering his shoulder and running through traffic."
For his career, Taylor has already rushed for 4,289 yards. The Florida state record for career rushing yards is held by former Escambia (Fla.) star Emmitt Smith. Smith rushed for 8,804. However, his freshman total was only 1,525.
With three seasons remaining, Taylor is nearly half-way to the Smith’s record. Shattering records will likely become a theme to Taylor’s career. In addition to his single-season touchdown mark, Taylor became only the second freshman to ever be nominated for the state’s Mr. Football award (the other was North Florida Christian standout Ernie Sims).
Taylor beat out a pair of fellow running backs from the Sunshine State, Boone sensation A.J. Turman and Yulee phenom Derrick Henry, as well as Archbishop Rummel (Metairie, La.) quarterback Damian Williams.
He is the second player to win the MaxPreps National Freshman of the Year award. Hopewell (Aliquippa, Pa.) running back Rushel Shell won last year. He rushed for 2,740 yards and 36 touchdowns on 292 attempts as a sophomore this season.
According to Walker, college coaches are already hot on Taylor’s trail. His father, Fred, starred at Florida, but Walker is not so sure that’s where Kelvin will end up.
"People assume he’ll go to Florida, but I don’t think he’s interested in playing for a spread team. I think he wants to play for an I-team that runs the ball down hill," he said.
"But that’s three years away."