Taylor taking playmaking skills to QB

Even as Reese Taylor adjusted to his new full-time position at cornerback during fall camp, Indiana’s plan for the talented newcomer included a role on offense.

Now, with backup quarterback Brandon Dawkins’ departure, the focus of Taylor’s offensive role has changed.

IU coach Tom Allen confirmed Monday that the true freshman athlete will move to quarterback, where he’ll serve as the third option behind starter Peyton Ramsey and classmate Michael Penix. It’s an intriguing shift for the 2017 Indiana Mr. Football winner, who guided Ben Davis to the Class 6A state championship last fall, and one that could allow Taylor to demonstrate some of his best attributes.

“I think you know how I feel about that young man, how special he is,” Allen said. “He’s been working on offense throughout camp, but going to put him in that quarterback’s room and allow him to be able to get grounded there, utilize him to the fullest.”

Even as he re-adjusts to his old position and learns the expectations in coordinator Mike DeBord’s offense, Taylor is likely to see the field. It’ll be hard, if not impossible, to keep Taylor on the sidelines, given his athleticism and natural playmaking skills. Throughout fall camp, Taylor shifted between defense and offense, where he got work at the skill positions.

It’s also possible that Taylor could take over the package of plays originally designed with Dawkins in mind, seeing the field in greater doses than originally expected.

“I see him definitely playing, yes,” Allen said. “Obviously we go through and reevaluate some things as far as how that’s going to look. But he’s a guy that I view as a play-maker. You want to get him touching the football. In some ways this kind of gives you a chance to be more creative with that, to be honest with you.

“At the same time I still want him to be utilized package-wise on offense and now it’s obviously expanded. Our staff had a lot of conversation about that young man, he’s really special, not just as a player, but as a person.”

At Ben Davis, Taylor set school records in passing yards (7,631) and passing touchdowns (79), while completing 68.6 percent of his throws. As a senior in 2017, Taylor connected on 215 of his 296 throws (72.6 percent) for 3,150 yards and 40 touchdowns, while rushing for 802 yards and 15 scores.

“He’s just a really explosive playmaker,” receiver Luke Timian said. “I can see why he won Mr. Indiana Football. He’s dynamic. He can play all over the field and I don’t think that will be any different at the QB position.”


  1. Despite the way it has happened, this is the move many on this site wanted to see happen. Taylor is a dynamic player and getting the ball into his hands at the start of each play is potentially a great thing. If he can do half of what he did at Ben Davis HS he will add a dimension that IU’s offense needs.

    We will find out how much Ramsey has improved and it is clear he is better physcially better this year. We will also get a chance to see how Penix reacts to big time football at the college level. We should also get to see Taylor on the field for the Hoosiers. I hope the QBs can live up to the role they will play for this team and help them have a winning season.

  2. Since R.T. committed my posts have reflected that he will play qb sooner or later. It is sooner in some capacity. Gifted athletic, smart, quick with speed and undersized. Plus he can pass and plus he is and will grow as a leader. That is just who he is…a coach’s player.
    A.D. survived (barely) with dents and dings. R.T. is in a different athletic league. R.T. Will have a a great career.

    1. t,
      You have been a huge proponent of RT at QB and yes, he was quite gifted in HS and may do well at the college level. Here’s the question, moving RT back to the QB position may make you and others happy but is it in RT’s long term best interests, especially if he wants to play at the next level? Wouldn’t it be better for him to be developing those skills which his size may allow him to do at the next level? Obviously a very good kid willing to do whatever the team needs, but is this what RT needs if he wants a pro career?

  3. The staff will try to save the Penix redshirt. If that means putting the best athlete on the field…so be it.

    1. Yes Chet I am coming to believe that today more than I did yesterday. Penix and RT are the only visible future past Peyton. Penix with the new rule will develop faster with guaranteed playing time this season. Taylor in my view only gains momentum as the backup QB while the 2018 season matures. He now may be the prominent intangible on the offense. If PR goes down though Penix is the MAN. Going to be a hell of a ride this season. FIU is the biggest opener for IU in a long, long time concerning a winning season. They are no push over. I am very wary of their experience, positive recruiting and a savvy HC.

  4. think. Not necessarily. Randle El played qb in college. Played other positions at next level. It all depends on how R.T. develops. If he blossoms at qb or moves to a different position in a year or two. Plus I am not sure what he actually thinks about trade offs regarding future next level goal possibilities.

  5. I don’t see how taking snaps at qb for a season or two will do anything but help a potential cornerback. I agree that it would likely benefit him to commit to defense his last season or two.but quarterback insight couldn’t hurt.

    There are a number of successful NFL position players who played qb in college.

    Besides, at the end of the day, it’s an offer he can’t refuse.

    1. If you want to preserve your brain and get through some NFL seasons with less risk of developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy, would you prefer quarterback or defensive back?

  6. To keep things in perspective, IU isn’t even in the worst shape at QB after this week. Nebraska has one scholarship QB, a freshman, with only two walk-ons backing him up. Minnesota is in the same boat although they gave their named starter a scholarship, a freshman, with little behind him. There will be a number of schools in the B1G that will have a wild ride this year; I just hope IU’s is a winning wild ride.

    I am glad to have Taylor in the QB room although I know he won’t play QB after IU. Taylor makes the QB room more athletic and dangerous for defenses. It will be great if Ramsey lights it up this year and stays healthy. It will be fun seeing Penix and Taylor when they get in games and hopefully they will show the excitement they can bring to the offense.

    1. V13,
      It would appear the real onus is now upon PR to prove TA was correct in his selection at QB. The question in my mind is as it always has been with PR, can he beat you with his arm? If he cannot beat you with his arm, can he beat you with his feet? If the defense takes away both his ability to beat them through the air or on the ground, is he crafty and deceptive enough to pull the coverage away from his other playmakers? The TA/DeBord appears to be built upon the QB being able to take the initiative away from the defense and force them to react. I’ve never questioned PR’s mental abilities to do this, but rather will his athletic abilities be his weakness at the B1G level of competition?

  7. That is why the qb position may look different by October. P.R. is susceptible to dents and dings plus getting shut down by limited ability though possibly improved due to his attitude.
    It is important that M.P. and R.T. Be ready depending on matchup. Got to be able to effectively pass.

    1. t,
      This is why the first 3 games of the season will really tell the tale regarding PR. If he cannot excel at that level of competition, it will only get tougher in the B1G. I don’t expect him to be a world beater with the OSUs, PSUs, UMs, or MSUs of the world, but against the non cons and lower tiers of the B1G, he has to be more than adequate.

  8. I don’t know, man. Something doesn’t pass the smell test with Dawkins’ departure.
    Does “quitter” mean of low character…?

  9. Wow everybody is happy with a guy physically not ready to play QB i just dont see it a 5’10 165 lbs guy? yes throw him in there and let a college end maybe 260 pound big ten end like Nick Bosa crack him and he’ll be beggin to go back to corner,im not drinkin this ridiculous kool aid you all cant see the forest for the trees

      1. HC,
        You are so right and Zander was too, even proved it, but had enough sense to know you can’t play QB at B1G level for long at that size.

  10. I believe the IU official site has him listed at 5-11, 184. No smaller and probably only a few pounds lighter than Russell Wilson when he was a freshman. Certainly not a Zander frame….

    If you’re an IU Football fan, there’s really no way to avoid “kool aid.” Can you say breakthrough? Oh yeah!

  11. R.T. Has to be as tough as Randell El. A far better comparison than to A.D. plus he is a better passer than El. Of course I see a college Doug Flutie in him as well.
    I watched Randell El get beat up continually throughout his career at IU starting about mid way through 3rd quarter. He would have his way for a half. Teams always keyed on him and made second half adjustments. He just became gassed and it negatively affected his passing. I never heard him complain and was one of the best team leaders I witnessed in IU sports.
    El was drafted out of high school for baseball. Nowadays, he looks back and thinks baseball would have been better for him because he could have physically played longer. Interestingly El and others have wondered if football is here to stay much longer than 20 years. At 40 years old he is feeling the physical effects of his football career along with others. In 1980 I heard a high school athletic director say he thought football would someday end and be replaced with Soccer. Well for now the 2018 football season has started at all levels.

    1. I’ve been hearing how soccer would take America by storm since I was a kid. I’m 62 now. A couple of my kids gave it a try. They were bored.

      Being a Hoosier, I tried to embrace it. It was boring.

      I have European friend who love it. Good for them.

      It’s like a basketball game where each team ends up shooting 2 for 6 for the entire contest.

      1. Agreed Chet.
        My thoughts are where do kids who have either the physical build or skill sets to play FB compete if FB is gone and those same personal attributes don’t competitively fit BB, round ball, golf, soccer etc? FB may have to evolve and transform some more but it ain’t goin away.

        1. HC,
          You took the words right off my keyboard? Was thinking the same thing earlier, but hadn’t been able to find time to post. I believe you will agree with this question. Please tell us what an individual with the size to be a lineman is going to be able to play competitively?

  12. T.A. though not intentional in his quest to go with one qb seems to be describing quarterback position by committee. To what extent will be seen.

  13. Agree w/ Brother Chet, soccer is b-o-r-i-n-g. My niece and nephew both played in college and I tried to get interested but it was hopeless. HC, “where do kids who have either the physical build or skill sets to play FB compete if FB is gone[?]” Rugby, for one place. Proud to say I played eighth man (albeit B-side) for IU’s club team! Better be in shape for that- forty-five minute halves, no time outs, and one referee- so you’d better look out for yourself on the rugby pitch ’cause waiting for the man to drop a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct is not an option. Granted, the football throwing “skill set” doesn’t fit in to rugby, but that’s only one guy in twenty-two in football anyway, but all the rest of skills sure do.

    American football without pads would still be a great game anyway. All the down and distance decisions (and the wonderful Monday morning quarterbacking that allows), play design and calling, rough-and-tumble play, the grace of the runners and catchers, it would ALL still be there. Just far, far, fewer concussive hits to the noggin (both delivered and received. I sure had a lot of fun playing sandlot tackle football (even a few pick up tackle games outside the dorm at IU) and I bet a lot of you did, too!

    1. davis,
      Might want to do a little more research on that regarding the great sport of Rugby. Not the numbers playing in US as in England. The number of Rugby injuries over there is pretty frightening, especially with a bit hit or in a scrum.

  14. thinker: No question it’s a rough game and yep, plenty of injuries, some of them gruesome. I was only referring to the head shots that have got everyone questioning the future of football. Not too many parents stateside are re-thinking HS football for fear of blown out knees, broken arms, and the like; it’s the concussions that have rattled people. Heads can certainly get banged against each other (or the ground) in rugby, but nothing like the frequency or ferocity in helmeted football.

  15. I had to chuckle at the thought of rugby being a safer alternative to football. My rugby playing friends always looked like they were involved in competitive automobile accidents.

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