There’s more to Dontrell Taylor than meets the eye.
At 5-foot-8, 150 pounds, the White Castle High School running back feels he’s been unfairly labeled as a “scat” back, primarily using his speed to break around the edge. And by running a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash, it isn’t hard to see why.
But this season, Taylor wants defenders to know he’ll run them over too.
“I see me breaking more tackles and getting more of those extra, hard yards,” Taylor said.
“I feel like I’m still at that scat back role, but I see me progressing more as the season progresses.”
Taylor’s attempt at rebranding stems from his adoption of the motto, “attitude and work ethic.” It’s simple, but, along with White Castle coach Lamar Thomas who helped create the slogan, Taylor is bringing the new philosophy to the Bulldogs’ huddle.
White Castle is still an inexperienced team heading into its Week 5 matchup with Episcopal at home this Friday, but Taylor said he’s already seen how the motto has impacted the team.
“Work ethic just means we work hard in the weight room and improve conditioning,” Taylor said. “Attitude is just having a positive attitude. Don’t talk back and do what you’re supposed to do on and off the field.”
A jack-of-all-trades player, Taylor spends long stretches of games without getting so much as a play off as the team’s starting running back as well as being the Bulldogs’ primary returner, and even playing a relief role at cornerback when the team needs him.
But in his junior season at White Castle, Taylor is finding more breaks than he’s been accustomed to in previous years.
Thomas said his team has implemented a “running back by committee” system, where the Bulldogs employ the use of as many as four ball carriers in their jet-sweep offense.
Thomas said White Castle is committed to using all of its backs in the offense, but Taylor has supplanted himself as the “elder statesman” of the group and has consistently posted the best numbers.
Taylor has recorded 446 yards and four touchdowns on 50 carries, accounting for almost half of the Bulldogs’ yardage on the ground through the first four games. Taylor’s receiving numbers are fairly prolific, hauling in 173 yards and a pair of scores on just five receptions.
Taylor’s numbers take a sizeable hit on special teams, though, as opponents refuse to kick to him with the exception of three occasions this season.
“He’s able to make moves and cuts at full speed,” Thomas said. “That’s pretty much the most amazing thing to watch him play is that he can make those cuts at full speed.”
Taylor said he’s fine with the running back-by-committee system White Castle uses because it keeps the defense guessing. He views it as an addition by subtraction type of situation.
“I’m just a team player,” Taylor said. “When the coach gives me a chance with the ball, I just try to make big plays.”