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November 12, 2011

Kelvin Taylor tops Florida career rushing mark

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Tom Bergeron is the Senior Editor for RivalsHigh.com. Send ideas, questions or comments to TBergero@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow on Twitter.

Fred Taylor's son did what his father could not: Run out of the shadow of Emmitt Smith.

Kelvin Taylor became the state of Florida's all-time leading rusher in a big way Friday night, going for 388 yards and six TDs to lead Belle Grade (Fla.) Glades Day to a 43-22 victory.

The total gives Taylor 8,975 yards - or 171 yards more than Smith finished with at Pensacola (Fla.) in 1986.

Ironically, perhaps the only thing his father couldn't do on the football field is surpass the greatness of Smith, who he followed at the University of Florida and then the NFL.

That won't be an issue for his son.

The only thing more amazing than breaking Smith's 25-year-old mark is how far he potentially could surpass it. Taylor, who still has the playoffs remaining this season, is only a junior.

Taylor already talks like a pro with a team-first attitude.

Video of the record breaking run by Wells Dusenberry of ESPN 760.
"I just told myself I want to break it during the regular season and then take care of business in the playoffs," he told the Palm Beach Post afterward.

Taylor, 5-10 and 190, is a prototypical back as he combines size with speed. He broke the record on a 34-yard TD run off the left side - a man-playing-with-boys type run (see run on video).

Rivals.com Florida analyst Chris Nee is impresseed.

"Taylor is a workhorse who has handled a heavy workload throughout his high school career," he said. "He is a productive runner, especially between the tackles, where he can use a combination of speed and power to create long runs by breaking tackles and getting to the second level where he uses his speed to separate from the defense. He has focused on Alabama and Florida, and more recently LSU, for his future collegiate home."

Taylor's father, who went to Florida, may be the most unappreciated back of his generation.

After being named Mr. Football in the state after starring at Belle Glade (Fla.) Glades Central High, Fred Taylor had a stellar collegiate career, going for 3,075 yards and 31 TDs by the time he was done in 1997. Those numbers, however, couldn't compare to Smith, who had the Florida school record in both totals (3,928 and 36 TDs) in a collegiate career that ended in 1989.

The same held true in the pros.

Taylor's 11-year NFL career was good for 11,695 yards, 66 TDS and a 4.6 average. His numbers are more impressive considering he missed more than 40 games due to injury. His rushing total is the 15th-best in NFL history and figures to one day land him a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Most of his work, however, came with the Jacksonville Jaguars - meaning Taylor rarely was on the national stage.

Smith, of course, seemingly was on a daily basis, playing for some powerhouse Cowboys teams. He finished his career at the top of the NFL lists for yards (18,355) and rushing TDs (164).

But while his father may not have been properly appreciated, his son already is.

After he broke the record, his coach, Pete Walker, put it in perspective for him on the sidelines.

"I told him he's the greatest football player I've ever coached and he's the best back I've ever seen," Walker told the Palm Beach Post. "He's a once-in-a-lifetime kid."

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