At halftime, it all looked rather bleak for Kennesaw Mountain. The Mustangs had fallen down 17-7 to Pope, and the offense was looking for a spark.
Kennesaw Mountain and Pope both came into the matchup with just one loss in the column and were looking to edge ahead in the region standings. There was a lot on the line, the chance to win the region championship, while also taking down your cross-county rival – the outcome was monumental.
So who does Kennesaw Mountain turn to after cutting the score to 17-14 in the 3rd quarter? None other than the dynamic junior receiver, Jailen Taylor.
Kennesaw Mountain had just driven past midfield, and junior QB Cayman Prangley rolled out to his right. About 15 yards downfield, Taylor had just found a soft spot in the defensive coverage. Prangley fired, Taylor, caught, and then turned upfield. Before you knew it, there was a key block that Taylor utilized, but he still had a defender closing. The elusive junior hit the juke stick left, leaving the defender grasping at air, and he was quickly galloping down the right sideline before crossing the endzone.
The play was on the Recruit Georgia top 10 just two days later, and after a strong showing by the Kennesaw Mountain community, Taylor was named Week 9’s #1 play.
Taylor is really just a highlight waiting to happen. Going into this season we picked him to be Preseason All-State at returner.
The junior is an electric 6’1″ 165 lbs athlete who should fill out his frame and will be an explosive playmaker at the next level. So with all that said, we were interested to learn about the state of his recruitment.
“As far as recruitment, I still don’t have any offers, so I’m just trying to do my best on and off the field to help myself get my info out to college coaches and everything,” Taylor said.
What’s even more interesting is a player of Taylor’s talent has yet to even go on a college visit. Now, after covering the state for over half a decade, Taylor is what we call a true sleeper in his recruiting class.
All the while, Taylor has remained focused on getting better, and over the last year, the 2023 recruit feels like he has taken a jump forward in one key area as a receiver.
“I feel like I’ve definitely improved in my route running. I definitely didn’t have the best route running a year ago. I’ve been training all summer and even still now; to better myself, to be the best receiver possible,” he said.
For the remainder of the season, Taylor is focused on eclipsing 1000 yards receiving mark, getting 10 touchdowns while also landing his first college offer.
Splitting the targets with senior Duke commit Savion Riley might make those goals tough, but regardless, Taylor is averaging a jaw-dropping 32.1 yards per reception this season (one of the best in the state) on just a total of 12 receptions. And with 6 touchdowns, Taylor is literally taking the ball in for a score one in every two receptions. That’s insane.
A lot of names come to mind when thinking of comparisons to Taylor, so we thought to ask who he might model his game after.
“I wouldn’t say I model my game after anyone. I like to be myself as much as possible. I have been compared to a couple of players though.”
Yeah, that seems to characterize Taylor well. He’s just trying to do himself. He’s not worried about beating his chest or claiming he is the best, but getting better, showing out on the field, and helping his team win.
Right now, Kennesaw Mountain is 7-1 and is in uncharted territory for the relatively new school. Including Taylor, the program has a strong cast of upperclassmen that should really push far into the playoffs, so be sure to checkout @RecruitGeorgia on Twitter to see the latest on Taylor, his recruitment, and how the Mustang’s season turns out plus much more coverage across the Peach State.