More than just a football player

Jarryd Taylor went to the United States to play football in high school, but returned home for university. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

Jarryd Taylor also plays on the baseball team and likes to draw in his free time

At five years old, Jarryd Taylor knew he wanted to play football. Now, he’s living his dream as a wide receiver for the Concordia Stingers football team.

Growing up near Riverside Park in LaSalle, and seeing other kids play football, Taylor thought the sport looked fun. He asked his mom to register him to play and has loved it ever since. The first team he played for was the LaSalle Warriors. In high school, he got a full scholarship to play as a quarterback at St-Francis High School in Athol Springs, N.Y.

Things changed for Taylor in his junior year when a wide receiver at St-Francis switched schools, leaving the position open. The coaches tried Taylor out there, and he’s played that position ever since. Taylor said his favourite part about football is scoring touchdowns, and he gets the best opportunity to do so as a wide receiver.

“There’s no better feeling,” Taylor said. “You’re the only one with the ball in the end zone and all the fans are cheering or they’re quiet because you’re [at away games].”

So far this season, he’s only scored one touchdown in five games, but is ranked second in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) in receiving yards, at 475. Taylor has also been a reliable deep threat this season, with 15.8 yards per catch, which is the third-highest in the RSEQ.

He said his strongest skill is route running and being able to get past a defensive back to get open. He said his weakest skill would be blocking, since he doesn’t like contact.

Jarryd Taylor runs his route during a game against the Sherbrooke Vert et Or on Sept. 30. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

Although he’s only 19, Taylor’s presence on the team doesn’t go unnoticed.

“I feel way more confident [than last year],” he said. “I might be the youngest on the team, but people still look up to me and look at me to make plays. I’m no veteran but I am a second-year, so they look at me differently than they did last year. It’s cool. I like it.”

A man of many talents, football isn’t the only sport Taylor plays. He’s on the Stingers baseball team as well, where he pitches about once a week. His love of baseball started at nine or 10 years old after his grandmother asked him: “‘Why not try it out?”

Although he enjoys baseball, it’s more of a hobby—so when football and baseball conflict, football comes first. Consequently, school sometimes takes a hit and ends up being put on the backburner, but Taylor said he still manages to get everything done.

“I’m in finance right now, but I’m not really intrigued by it,” he said. “I only took it last year because I was good in math, so I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll go into finance.’” He is also taking sociology and film classes, and said he wants to go into film or screenplay writing.

After playing with the Concordia Stingers and finishing his studies, Taylor has high hopes for his future. He wants to make a difference in the world through humanitarian work.

“I want to go into the Green Cross and go into sanctuaries and third-world countries where there are all kinds of endangered species, to work as a volunteer,” he said. “If they give me shelter and food, I’ll be happy with that in my life.”

During his busy schedule, he still finds the time to work as a school monitor for Westmount Park Elementary, even if only for two hours a day. Even though Taylor is involved with many activities, he’s quite introverted and likes to stay in his own bubble.

“I like to draw. I do it pretty much every night,” the athlete said. “I usually do realism pictures—anything that comes to mind. I’ll be looking at Pinterest or whatever and just [think], ‘That’s a cool picture, let me make my own remake of it.’”

Taylor also gets inspiration from driving around Montreal. He said if he sees something worth recreating in his drawings, he’ll go back to the spot to draw it.

Taylor’s biggest supporter and inspiration is his mom. He said she is always the loudest in the crowd and always drove the eight hours to watch him play when he was in high school.

“I don’t remember the last time she missed a game,” Taylor said. “She plays the role model, she plays everything. I see how she lives her life, and I [aspire] to be that kind of character when I grow up […] She inspires me to do most of the things that I do.”

From drawing to humanitarian work, Taylor’s mother has seen him grow into more than just a football player.

Main photo by Alex Hutchin

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