Posted: 12:53 pm Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
Glades Day’s Kelvin Taylor could set Florida all-time state rushing record in coming weeks; has shot at national record
By Matt Porter
Another Friday night, another climb toward the summit for Glades Day junior running back Kelvin Taylor.
After rushing for 426 yards and five touchdowns on 38 carries in a 35-24 win over Village Academy, Taylor became No. 2 all-time in state rushing yards and moved closer to Emmitt Smith’s all-time state rushing record.
The son of former NFL great and Glades Central alum Fred Taylor could end his high school career by obliterating Florida’s state rushing records – and take a run at a national mark untouched for nearly six decades.
With 1,505 yards on 148 carries this season, Taylor has 8,151 yards for his career. That puts him 653 yards shy of the 8,804 Smith put up at Pensacola-Escambia from 1983-86.
With four games left, Taylor could break Smith’s record before the end of the regular season. Glades Day (4-2) hosts Trinity Catholic Friday, travels to Summit Christian next Friday, hosts Zion Lutheran Nov. 4 and ends the regular season by with a Nov. 11 trip to South Fork.
Taylor (5-foot-10 and 205 pounds) already holds a few major rushing records:
* In last season’s Class 1B state championship win over Warner Christian, Taylor broke the Palm Beach County record for career rushing yards (6,557, held by former American Heritage running back Ron Williams).
* In the Gators’ 1B regional final win over Jupiter Christian, Taylor set a Palm Beach County record for rushing yards in a game (437). The previous mark (392) was set in 2008 by Spanish River’s Brett Swider, according to the Sun-Sentinel. Palm Beach Gardens’ Emmanuel Cook (373) set the record in 2005.
Taylor’s 437 yards is believed to be a single-game state record.
* Taylor’s 426-yard performance last week is the regular-season Palm Beach County record for rushing yards in a game. For comparison, the single-game Miami-Dade County record is 419 yards, set in 2000 by Coral Gables running back Frank Gore.
* In Glades Day’s first game this season, Taylor set the state career record for rushing touchdowns (128 and counting). He entered the year with 110, tied for first with former Punta Gorda-Charlotte running back Mike Bellamy.
* The Palm Beach County record is believed to be 101, set by American Heritage’s Williams in 2002. Taylor passed that with five touchdowns in last season’s Class 1B regional final game against Jupiter Christian.
* In his sophomore year, Taylor set what is believed to be a Palm Beach County record for rushing touchdowns (46) in a season and a personal best for rushing yards (2,592). It is unknown if the latter is a Palm Beach County record.
* In his sophomore year, Taylor caught three touchdown passes, bringing his season total to 49. That is believed to be a state record.
As far as records Taylor has yet to break:
* The state – and national – record for rushing yards in a season is 4,087, set in 1996 by Travis Henry (Frostproof). Henry rushed for 42 touchdowns in 14 games that season.
* Taylor is on pace to break one of Henry’s records, with luck and health. Henry put up a state-record 14 consecutive 200-yard games in 1996. Taylor is currently at nine, dating back to last season’s playoff opener against Barrington Christian.
Only a junior, Taylor could be setting an impossibly high bar. He became Glades Day’s feature back as an eighth-grader and has carried the Gators to a pair of state championships. Taylor, who turned 18 on Sept. 28, will be eligible to play next season. Under FHSAA rules, middle school participation does not count toward a student’s four years of high school eligibility.
If he keeps up this pace, he could approach the 59-year-old national record for career rushing yards, set in 1953 by Ken Hall of Sugar Land, Texas. Taylor is currently 3,081 yards shy of “The Sugar Land Express”, who rushed for an astounding 11,232 yards.
If Taylor breaks that mark, it would likely not be recognized as the national record. The National Federation of High Schools, of which the FHSAA is a member, counts performances from grades 9 through 12 toward its records.
From his freshman year on, Taylor has rushed for 6,567 yards, leaving him 2,237 yards short of Smith and 4,665 yards short of Hall. Both Smith and Hall compiled their totals in four seasons.
If his eighth-grade totals are not counted, Taylor could still set the national and state records.
Using just regular-season games, Taylor would have a maximum of 14 games to accomplish the feats. He would need an average of 333 yards per game to break Hall’s national record and 160 to break Smith’s state record.
If Glades Day repeats as state champions this year and next, Taylor could have 22 games to work with. He would need an average of 212 yards per game to pass Hall and 102 yards per game to pass Smith.
Thanks at first to his father and now because of his exploits, Taylor has long been familiar to college football fans. Taylor admits he likes Florida and Alabama above all others. It’s long from being decided whether he joins his father (and Smith) and becomes a Gator, carves out his own path at ‘Bama, or plants his flag somewhere else, but Taylor has already taken his place among the greatest high school running backs Florida has ever seen.
2008: 193 carries, 1,584 yards, 28 TD
2009: 286 carries, 2,592 yards, 46 TD
2010: 290 carries, 2,470 yards, 34 TD
*2011: 148 carries, 1,505 yards, 20 TD
TOTALS: 917 carries, 8,151 yards, 128 TD*
FLORIDA’S ALL-TIME HIGH SCHOOL RUSHING LEADERS
Yards – Name – School – Years – Other stats
8,804 – Emmitt Smith – Pensacola-Escambia – 1983-86 – 1,127 carries, 106 TDs
*8,151 – Kelvin Taylor – Glades Day – 2008-11 – 917 carries, 128 TDs
7,947 – Willie Green – Kissimmee-Osceola – 1996-99 – 920 carries, 107 TDs
7,479 – Ciatrick Fason – Neptune Beach-Fletcher – 1998-01 – 933 carries, 96 TDs
7,411 – C.J. Hudson – Frostproof – 1996-99 – 71 TDs
7,321 – Mike Bellamy – Punta Gorda-Charlotte – 2007-10 – 110 TDs
7,224 – Travis Henry – Frostproof – 1993-96 – 79 TDs
*through Oct. 14, 2011
Sources: Palm Beach Post, Orlando Sentinel, Sun-Sentinel, Tampa Bay Tribune archives