KHQA AWARDS WEEK
2012 Illinois Defensive Most Valuable Player
BRETT TAYLOR, LB, Macomb
2011: Austin Gooding, Brown County
2010: Jack Carlisle, Illini West
2009: Nathan Goudschaal, Brown County
2008: Zack Burling, Illini West
2007: Phillip Smith, Quincy Notre Dame
2006: T.J. Taylor, West Hancock
2005: Alex Ebbing, Brown County
2004: Les Hammers, Jacksonville
2003: Terry Comiskey, Beardstown
2002: A.J. Huston, West Prairie/LaHarpe
2001: Blake Bainter, Macomb
2000: Chris Rogers, Carthage
1999: Willie Thompson, Carthage
1998: Luke Wessel, Carthage
1997: Ryan Cramer, West Prairie/LaHarpe
You would probably have a hard time selling Macomb opponents of this concept....but there was in fact less of Brett Taylor on the field for the Bombers this season. Nearly 30 pounds less, to be exact, thanks to a rigorous off-season conditioning program that helped imbue the standout linebacker with more stamina and more sideline to sideline mobility.
Which I think says a lot about Brett Taylor himself; that a kid who might well have been the best linebacker in this half of the state as junior, would work so on his own craft, coming off a ridiculous 170 tackle season...
And yet pay off...it did.
Brett Taylor went from superstar to darn neared Super Hero-esque production. To the tune of 40 more total tackles than he had a season ago. That's a mind numbing 210 stops in all or a rate of 19 tackles per game. To put Taylor's senior season into perspective, he had more solo stops (195) than any other area player had total tackles. And along the way he shattered every career and single season mark in school history...not to mention one unfortunate opponents ear drum from the sheer force of one of his hits. By every statistical and observable measure, Brett Taylor was nothing short of an implement of Offensive Destruction...going so as far one play, no immortalized on You Tube, to hurdle and opposing Offensive Line to make a tackle for loss.
And speaking off Offensive Lines, while it bears no real relevance to this award, it does bare mentioning that Taylor proved his worth as a blocker on the other side of the football as a standout as well, fronting for a rushing attack that generated 2951 ground yards and a pair of thousand yard rushers in Jarrod Rockhold and Eli Cousins. Considering his work rate on the other side of the football, you wonder how he found the energy...
In short, Brett Taylor proved himself every bit the All Stater and finished 2012 as the runner-up for overall Player of the Year award. But as pure defensive resumes go, I'd argue no one in Tri State Football, on either side of the river, comes remotely close.