ORANGEBURG, S.C. (WIS) - South Carolina State senior Alex Taylor is thankful to be back on the football field.
The 6-foot-9, 300-plus pound offensive lineman towers over his teammates as the Bulldogs battle in camp. Taylor relishes these moments.
When he first set out on his football journey, Taylor struggled to find a purpose for playing. The Moncks Corner native began his collegiate career at Appalachian State in 2015. After a redshirt season, his offensive line coach left that program. It was the only coach Taylor felt a strong connection with. The departure made Taylor doubt his reasons for being there.
"I just felt like it was my time to go,” Taylor remembered. “I was not doing anything to help my team or myself."
So, without taking a meaningful college snap, Taylor made a drastic change. He not only left the App State program but decided to switch sports.
"I had it in my mind. Basketball was always the first sport I played,” Taylor said. “I always wanted to give it a shot."
After tryouts with several programs, Taylor landed at SC State to play basketball in 2017. Bulldogs head coach Murray Garvin taught Taylor more than hoops.
"Coach Garvin, I love him to death,” Taylor said. “Call him one of my mentors. Taught me to be your own man. Think for yourself. Don't let anybody tell you what you can and can't do."
It's a life lesson which inspired Taylor to give football another chance.
"I felt like I was running away from App State,” Taylor said. “I had to push it away at the end of the day because I'm not the type of person to give up that easy."
"To find a guy who was kind of on the side of the road, bring him in,” Pough said, “he cannot only help you but can be an outstanding part of your offense."
It was something special. Taylor grabbed his second chance in the game and pushed forward.
"He seemed to find the niche in the scheme of things,” Pough said. “Everyone his whole life told him he out to be this or that. I think he might be getting figured out."
Now on the gridiron with the Bulldogs, Taylor has found purpose for playing once again.
“My love for the game is here. Football, I’m here to stay.”