Kole Taylor became Keauxl Taylor on Wednesday.
The Central High School senior signed his National Letter of Intent to continue his football career with Louisiana State University on college football’s early national signing day.
Taylor, rated as a 4-star tight end by Rivals and a 3-star by 247Sports, verbally committed to LSU over Colorado and Penn State in July.
“It’s awesome,” Taylor said. “It’s great to take that next step in my life and I’m ready for it, for sure.”
In his time with the Warriors, he hauled in 72 passes for 1,084 yards and 15 touchdowns, quickly becoming a go-to target for Central quarterbacks.
One reason Taylor wanted to join the Bayou Bengals was because of their offensive evolution. Previous LSU teams relied on a strong running game and defense to win games. After the 2018-19 season, Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron hired New Orleans Saints assistant Joe Brady to be the passing game coordinator.
The changes Brady was making to the Tigers’ attack were enticing to the 6-foot-7-inch, 230-pound tight end. Taylor’s build and athleticism, in turn, enticed LSU.
“I trusted them by word of mouth,” Taylor said. “I hadn’t seen anything, any actual play. I watched their spring game but they didn’t open up their full playbook for scouting reasons and stuff. To actually see it all unfold with that much passing is awesome.”
Brady’s first season with LSU led to the Tigers having one of the best offenses in SEC history. LSU averaged 47.8 points and 554.5 yards per game in the regular season, led by Heisman Trophy-winning senior quarterback Joe Burrow, who completed 77.9% of his throws for 4,715 yards, 48 touchdowns and only six picks.
The tight end position has also seen an increase in production. Junior Thaddeus Moss has 38 receptions this year, the most in a season for a tight end in program history.
Taylor could be joining the reigning national champions. The Tigers are 13-0, No. 1 in the College Football Playoff and are a Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl win over No. 4 Oklahoma away from playing for the national title at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
That success has boosted LSU’s recruiting efforts. Taylor is part of a class ranked No. 2 by Rivals and No. 4 by 247Sports.
“There’s a lot of good players going there,” Taylor said. “There’s a lot of top talent in the nation going there. It’s going to be awesome competing against them. It’s gonna be fun going against those guys day in and day out.”
LSU signed another highly rated tight end, Arik Gilbert, who committed to LSU in October. Gilbert, a Georgia native, is the No. 1 tight end prospect in the United States.
Despite Gilbert’s commitment, Taylor never wavered on his own decision to join the Tiger.
“I never second-guessed myself and my decision,” Taylor said. “He’s a great player. I’m just going to go in and compete like he will. If they have two good players, they’re gonna play both of them now.”
The next major step for Taylor, aside from finishing out his time in high school and graduating, is adjusting to life in Baton Rouge and SEC country.
“We’ve got the elevation here. They’ve got the humidity there,” Taylor said. “The conditioning part is going to be different. It’ll be quite an adjustment. But it’s a really good place and there’s a lot of outdoor stuff to do and that’s what I really enjoy. It’s a good place to be.”
Taylor will go from yearly clashes with Fruita Monument, Grand Junction and Palisade to battles against Alabama, Florida, Auburn and Texas A&M.
He knows many in his hometown will be watching.
“I’ll be representing Grand Junction. I’m going to carry myself day in and day out,” Taylor said. “It’s really cool to have someone come out of here and put Colorado and Grand Junction both on the map.”