Today is July 11, 2019, which means we are officially just 51 days away from the Virginia Tech Hokies opening the college football season at Boston College. Yesterday, we profiled former starting center Keith Short, a two-year starter in 1998 and 1999.
For No. 51, we head back to the defensive side of the ball and Bruce Taylor.
Taylor was a consensus four-star prospect out of Myrtle Beach, S.C., in the class of 2008. He was ranked as one of the top inside linebacker prospects in the country. He redshirted his first year on campus in 2008 and played a backup role in 2009 as a redshirt freshman.
It was the 2010 season where Taylor would emerge as a standout for the Hokies. He would start all 14 games for the Hokies, finishing with 91 tackles, 15.5 for loss, six sacks and four passes defensed. The Hokies went 11-3 that season, losing in the ACC championship game to Clemson. That was the year where the Hokies lost in overtime to Michigan in the controversial Sugar Bowl loss. And yes, that was a catch.
Taylor returned in 2011 with high expectations. His season got off to a good start, but unfortunately a foot injury cut his season short after eight games. Taylor was again Tech’s leading tackler before suffering the injury and finished his shortened season with 53 tackles, seven for loss and five sacks.
In his senior season of 2013, Taylor returned and had another strong season. He finished with 76 tackles, 10.5 for loss, 5.5 sacks and five passes defended.
For his Virginia Tech career, Taylor had an impressive 16.5 sacks. Considering Taylor wasn’t an outside pass rusher, those are terrific numbers. Remember, the coaches considered moving Taylor to defensive end back in 2008 before he redshirted. A shoulder injury derailed those plans.
Not only could Taylor get to the quarterback, he made an impact against the run, too. His athleticism was also on display in coverage. The foot injury was truly an unfortunate break for Taylor as I believe it did hurt his NFL chances.
He ended up being signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2013. He spent some time with Arizona too and then back with the Bengals.
Taylor was a terrific Hokie and one who lived up to his billing. While injuries did affect him, he still had an outstanding career leading Bud Foster’s defense.
Today, Taylor works as an account manager for Collabera, Inc., one of the nation’s top IT and staffing firms. He’s another example of another former Hokie who has enjoyed his success since the conclusion of his football career.
We Taylor was one of my favorite Hokies and truly a pleasure to watch during his time in Blacksburg.