Updated: Sep 1, 2021
DONATE TO HURRICANE IDA RELIEF
By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Like many great players before him, St Thomas Aquinas TE/WR Mason Taylor was forced to bide his time, waiting patiently for two long seasons....until this exact moment.....
Live on ESPN against the #8 team in the country....showing out with a monster senior debut performance.
Buried on a depth chart full of future NFL players and 4-5 star talents, even being NFL Hall of Famer Jason Taylor's son wouldn't be enough to catapult him ahead:
As St Thomas Aquinas sealed their second consecutive title last season, Mason's junior year didn't go exactly as he'd planned, appearing across 5 games and hauling in 133 yards from 6 total catches.
Due to his few reps and the lack of film, Mason Taylor's Geaux247 ranking as a ⭐⭐⭐ seemed justified to some degree....that was until LSU Odyssey had a gander at a few snaps from his Tigers work out, followed up by viewing a cackle of film from his camp appearances:
Immediately, LSU Odyssey bumped him up to a ⭐⭐⭐⭐ talent, believing whether he received reps or not, he would have the physical tools (in both tight windows or space) to win most battles at the next level....maybe even dominate.
Before Saturday, many didn't know of his multi-faceted powers, simply because he hadn't been given the chance.
Now, on the biggest sports network in the world, Mason Taylor went off in a display his Hall of Fame father Jason Taylor and uncle Zach Thomas would be very proud of:
During only his first outing of the campaign, a week 1 bout vs Baltimore's St Frances Academy, Mason Taylor already turned the heads of every analyst....as well as backing up LSU Odyssey's faith in his abilities:
Switching from #80 to swagadelic #8 for his senior year, Mason ripped in a ridiculous 12 passes for 162 yards, running circles around the St Frances Academy secondary, burning the opposition over the middle or near the boundary, showing off a wide catch range, looking strong and physical when blocking with a hand in the dirt, and habitually forcing a corner, nickel, linebacker or safety to guard him on every target; this enhanced attention from his opponents opened up a myriad of spaces for his Aquinas teammates. The WRs scored two big time touchdowns vs St Frances Academy, including WR Jaylen Sanchez's crucial touchdown at the stroke of half-time.....the play of the game.
If you take away Mason's 23 yard first down reception (with 10 seconds left on the board), or his deep route running on the next snap, then perhaps Sanchez doesn't get open....without Mason's multiple first down receptions throughout the drive, maybe St Thomas Aquinas aren't able to turn the tide for the eventual 38-24 win.
Taylor also made his defensive end father proud by plowing through edge rushers, nickels or linebackers, doubling up alongside LT Julian Armella for some savage double team blocking, freeing up RB Anthony Hankerson for some massive gains.
There's something special about the game Mason had on Saturday:
Televised around the world on ESPN, the top 10 battle between Aquinas and St Frances Academy featured many top athletes, no scrubs....Taylor was taking on the best talent....and still, Mason ripped off 12 grabs for a crazy 162 yards while being QB Zion Turner's favorite target; the 6'5 LSU commit only narrowly missed out on adding a touchdown when Turner threw a pass high and wide inside the red zone.
At this rate, Taylor could finish at just under 1,200 yards with 70 catches and 15+ touchdowns....enough to send his name towards the top of Gatorade's National Player of the Year list.
Calling his Week 1 display a "breakout game" is putting it mildly.....he just showcased one big fact here:
He's not a tight end...he's a large, lengthy receiver who can block. We witnessed his epic finesse after the catch, making good on our YAC analysis from his junior year (he only caught 6 passes as a junior, but he averaged 22.1 yards per reception).
On Saturday, Taylor picked the opposition apart yet again, catching short yardage crossing routes and turning up field for massive gains after the catch, totaling 13.5 after the catch from Saturday's 12 receptions, hitting a first down on nearly every grab.
The LSU Tigers' staff and fanbase watched intently from afar, raised eyebrows and wide eyes at Mason's Saturday masterpiece. He displayed much of the same athleticism from his private workout, this time against one of the top 5 defensive units throughout high school football.
With both "TE" / WR" hybrids Jake Johnson & Mason Taylor committed to the Tigers, Coach Ed Orgeron has to feel great about LSU's offensive future;
Taylor may have shocked the world on Saturday, but he didn't shock us.
By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2021 Uninterrupted Writings Inc
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