Ty Taylor is enjoying the ride playing football on Saturdays, but he hasn’t forgotten everything that goes into Friday night lights.
A 2010 GRHS graduate, Taylor’s University of Pennsylvania Quaker football team won its third outright Ivy League title in the past four years on Nov. 17 via a 35-28 victory over Cornell. A redshirt sophomore, Taylor played in all 10 games this season. Penn finished 6-4, but most importantly went 6-1 in the Ivy League.
“Our seniors had won conference as freshmen and sophomores, but they said they didn’t contribute as much as they wanted,” Taylor said. “Now they’ve gotten to experience winning it when the team is really theirs. It’s an Ivy League rule that we are not allowed to play in bowl games. The most important thing for us is to try to win our conference.”
The economics major had visions of this success when he arrived on campus.
“The reason why I transferred here was so that I could play on a championship team,” Taylor said. “We had a down season last year, so I wasn’t sure if I’d get to be a part of one, but we came together and pulled it out. It was a lot of fun.”
Taylor’s path to Penn was a bit of a winding road, but the important thing is he arrived.
“Coming out of high school, I’d tried to go to Harvard or Princeton, but that ended up not working out and Texas Tech was my fallback school,” he said. “During the spring semester, my dad called me one day and asked me if I wanted to transfer to an Ivy League school, because he knew it had been a longtime goal of mine to play at one of those schools and get a great education. When I found out Penn wanted me to come play, I was excited because it was the chance to meet a goal I’d had since the ninth grade.”
While the Cornell victory locked up the Ivy League crown, Taylor’s favorite win of the season was a 30-21 upset of Harvard the week before.
“That win stands out to me above anything else,” Taylor said. “It clinched us at least a share of the Ivy League title with them, and it’s a good thing we won our last game so we didn’t end up co-champions with them. Up to that point, we hadn’t played a great game, and Harvard came in 7-1 having beaten most of its opponents easily.
“I think we were 21-point underdogs, but we were ready to play. We hit them in the mouth on the first snap and didn’t look back from there.”
While Taylor finished with 10 catches this season, it looks like his target count will be headed north next fall.
“We’ll graduate two senior receivers, and I’d shared time with one of them while the other was a full-time starter,” he said. “I started late this season because of injury. Next season, it will probably be me and two seniors as the main three receivers.”
During his Tiger days, Taylor played varsity football, basketball, baseball and ran track. He was a first team all-district receiver in three seasons and received all-state honorable mention in two. Taylor was a two-time, first team academic all-state selection.
On the baseball field, he was a first team all-district outfielder as a senior. Taylor won district track titles in the 300-meter hurdles twice and once in the 110-meter hurdles.
When asked what advice he would share with current Tiger football players, Taylor took his time to ponder his words of wisdom.
“I would tell football players in Glen Rose that there is always room to improve,” he said. “You can never settle and think you’re good enough. If you’re not improving, you’re getting worse because everyone else is improving.
“At the same time, I’ve learned how important confidence is. If you don’t think you can play at a higher level, you won’t be able to – it’s as simple as that.”
Taylor is very appreciative of the support he receives from Big Red nation.
“Every game, I’ll have friends from back home calling and telling me ‘good game’,” he said. “They’ll ask me what games will be on TV, or how our last game went. It means a lot knowing that I still have a fan base at home, because when I came up here I didn’t know anyone. It’s nice to still feel connected; I’m glad they still care.”
On that note, Taylor is proud to represent Glen Rose many miles away.
“That’s one of the most important things in the world to me,” he said. “I tell everyone up here I’m from Glen Rose. When they don’t know, I’ll tell them it’s near Fort Worth. I loved being a Glen Rose Tiger, and after talking to some of my teammates I realized that the Glen Rose coaches are on another level.
“I feel like it’s one of the best coaching staffs in (Texas), especially for a school our size. They really helped prepare me to play at the next level.”
With Taylor’s on-field opportunity set to rise next fall, the Quaker will have plenty of chances to keep letting folks in Pennsylvania hear all about his Tiger roots.