Nathan Taylor may not be the biggest player on the field, but he sets his standards extremely high.
“My goal is to play in the CFL. Anything less than that is pretty much a failure,” he said.
Taylor, a fifth-year safety with the Concordia Stingers’ football team, was named the team’s most outstanding player and most dedicated player at the team’s banquet on Jan. 20. In nine games this season, Taylor racked up a total of 44 tackles, three interceptions and three batted passes.
Taylor called this year a bounce-back year for him after being benched during parts of last season. He had spent most of his career with the Stingers at cornerback and sometimes linebacker, but he excelled this season when put at safety.
“I think I played pretty well and I guess the coaches thought so too,” said Taylor, “I hadn’t played safety since midget, but I felt pretty good about it. I feel I was a more complete player at safety.”
Looking back on his time at Concordia, Taylor credits his work ethic for his success and the current attention he is getting from Canadian Football League teams. He also cited his coaches over the years, notably head coach Gerry McGrath, for helping him grow in maturity during his time with the Stingers.
“Hard work pays off,” he said. “For four, five years now, I’ve just been working hard every offseason trying to get better. Personally I feel like I’ve matured a lot as an athlete and as a player and Concordia is a big part of that.”
Taylor is now fully focused on the upcoming CFL combine, where he will showcase his talents to scouts and general managers with the hopes of being selected in the upcoming draft. His routine currently consists a vigorous workout schedule, which includes running and lifting weights, separately, each done four times a week.
When he was younger, Taylor never envisioned a career as a professional football player; today, it is a part of his everyday life. He even had doubts about his football future during his time at Vanier College, but was able to motivate himself in the gym to improve himself as a player.
“I was going to transfer. I was going to go to John Abbott College or go play junior football,” he said. “I didn’t think I was good enough to play at the CEGEP level. I’ve been working hard since my last year of midget, just to prepare myself to play football at the next level and now I’m preparing myself for the CFL.”
“I always took training seriously because I enjoy it. And I always wanted to be one of the strongest guys on the team. When I realized that the more work I put in the gym, the better I was on the field, that’s when it was ‘the harder you work, the easier it’s going to get’.”
Taylor is anxious to get the pre-draft process going and is looking forward to showcasing his skills to the people who will pave the way to a career in professional football.
“I just want to get the ball rolling. I want to show them that I’m physical and that I can run,” he said. “I get overlooked because I’m a little shorter, I’m not the prototypical 6-foot, 200-pound defensive back. You’ve got to prove it to them that you’re deserving of a roster spot.”
With a work ethic like his, Taylor has a good chance of overcoming this latest obstacle on his path to primetime. The CFL Combine takes place Mar. 22, 23 and 24 in Toronto.