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ARK ST Football BIO
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Blaise Taylor
Player Profile:
Blaise Taylor 1881615
Position: DB
Height: 5'9"
Weight: 166
Year: Senior
Hometown: Waco, Texas
High School: Auburn (Ala.) HS
Experience: 3 Letters

CAREER:  Taylor’s football career has seen him pile up 88 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, five interceptions, 23 pass break-ups, a forced fumble and a blocked kick while earning all-conference recognition in both 2014 and 2016 . . . A-State career record holder for career punt return yards (1,089), which is also the second most ever by a Sun Belt Conference player . . . Holds four of the top-10 marks in school history for punt return yards in a game, as well as in a season.  He is the second all-time leader in Sun Belt Conference history for punt returns for a touchdown (4), while his 1,089 career punt return yards are the second most in the nation among active players.

2017:  Team captain . . . NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class (1 of 13) . . . William V. Campbell Trophy Finalist . . . Wuerffel Trophy Semifinalist . . . Senior CLASS Award candidate . . . Allstate AFCA Good Works Team nominee . . . Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award nominee . . . Hornung Award Watch List . . . Sun Belt Conference Special Teams Player of the Week (10/30) . . . 1st Team Preseason All-Sun Belt (return specialist) . . . 2nd Team Preseason All-Sun Belt (defensive back) . . . Athlon, Phil Steele’s & College Sports Madness 1st Team Preseason All-Sun Belt (punt returner) . . . Ranked fourth in the nation average punt return yards per attempt at 17.1.

2016:  Team captain . . . Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference selection as a return specialist . . . Named the Sun Belt Conference Special Teams Player of the Week on Nov. 7 . . . Started 12 games and played in all 13 while setting new season-best numbers for tackles (35), tackles for loss (2), interceptions (3) and pass break-ups (9) . . . Ranked tied for third in the Sun Belt in total passes defended (12) . . . Nine pass break-ups tied the second most in the league and three interceptions tied the ninth most . . . Recorded multiple tackles in eight games and five or more in three outings, including a season-high seven against New Mexico State . . . Three interceptions came against Louisiana-Monroe, Georgia State and Utah State . . . Posted at least one pass break-up in six games, including a season-high three against Louisiana-Lafayette . . . Recorded 47 punt return yards against UCF in the Cure Bowl, running his career total to 781 yards to break the school record . . . Recorded a team and Sun Belt Conference season-high 98 punt return yards against Georgia State, which were the sixth most in Arkansas State history for a single game . . . Ended the year with 225 punt return yards -- the seventh most in school history and the most by a Sun Belt Conference player during the 2016 season . . . Also returned six kickoffs for 86 yards with a long of 20 . . . Preseason First Team All-Sun Belt Conference as a return specialist and Second Team as a defensive back . . . Wuerrfel Trophy Watch List . . . Athlon Sports First Team Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference punt and kick returner, and Second Team cornerback . . . Enters his junior season with 56 career punt returns (sixth most in school history) for 556 yards (second most in school history and third most ever by a Sun Belt player) and two touchdowns (ties the second most in Sun Belt history) . . . Ended his sophomore season with the 22nd highest career punt return average (10.9) in the nation among active players . . . Arkansas State Athletic Director's Honor Roll and Sun Belt Conference Commissioner's List member . . . Arkansas State Student-Athlete Advisory Committee member.

2015:  Team captain . . . Played in 11 games, including 10 as a starter . . . Recorded 26 tackles (17 solo/9 asst.), 1.0 tackles for loss, one interception and seven pass break-ups . . . Ranked 14th in the Sun Belt in passes defended 0.73 per game) . . . First career interception came against New Mexico State . . . Recorded at least one tackle in all but one game played and had multiple stops in seven, including a season-high four in three different games . . . Posted a season-high three pass break-ups against Georgia State . . . Ended the season with 24 punt returns for 322 yards (second most in A-State history for a single season) and one touchdown . . . Named the Sun Belt Conference Special Teams Student-Athlete of the Week on Nov. 30 after returning four punts for 111 yards (third most in school history for a single game) and a touchdown against New Mexico State . . . Longest return of the year (73 yards) also came in the game . . . Ranked No. 11 in the nation in punt return average (13.4 ypa) . . . Led the Sun Belt in punt return yards (322) . . . Returned four kickoffs, all in the New Orleans Bowl against Louisiana Tech, for 174 yards and a touchdown . . . The 174 yards were the fifth most ever by an A-State player and his 43.5 yards per return was the second highest average in school history . . . His touchdown return went for 98 yards, which tied the third longest return in school history . . . Finished with 496 all-purpose yards (all on punt and kick returns) for the seventh most on the team . . . First Team Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference . . . Athlon Sports, Phil Steele's, USA Today and ESPN first team Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference as return specialist . . . College Sports Madness Second Team Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference . . . Sun Belt Conference Commissioner's List, A-State Athletics Director's Honor Roll and Arkansas State University Dean's List member.

2014:  Team captain . . . Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference as a return specialist . . . Sun Belt Conference Special Teams Player of the Week and College Football Performance Awards national Punt Returner of the Week (Nov. 17) . . . Phil Steele's First Team All-Sun Belt punt returner . . . College Sports Madness Second Team All-Sun Belt punt returner . . . Played in all 13 games as a true freshman in reserve role in the defensive backfield and as a return specialist on special teams . . . 29 punt returns were the fourth most in school history . . . 234 punt return yards were the fifth most in school history for a single season . . . 8.1 average per punt return ranked second in the Sun Belt, No. 35 in the nation . . . Returned three punts for a season-high 104 yards (school record 34.7 yards per return) and one touchdown against Appalachian State . . . The 104 yards were the fourth most in school history and the 10th most in the nation during the 2014 season . . . Responsible for the first punt return for a touchdown by an A-State player since 2007 . . . Longest punt return of the season covered 61 yards against Appalachian State . . . 12 kickoff returns were the second most on the team, along with his 294 yards . . . Among players with at least 10 kickoff returns, his 24.5 average per return was the highest on the team . . . Recorded four kickoff returns for 124 with a long of 54 yards against Texas -- all season highs . . . 11 of his 12 kickoff returns and 256 of his 294 yards came over the final three games of the season . . . Recorded nine tackles (six solo, three assist), 1.5 tackles for loss of four yards and one forced fumble on the season . . . Tallied at least one tackle in six games, including a season-high three against South Alabama . . . Lone forced fumble came against South Alabama as well . . . Athletic Director's Honor Roll . . . Sun Belt Conference Commissioner's List . . . Mid-year signee with A-State who was able to participate in the Red Wolves' 2014 spring camp.

HIGH SCHOOL:  Named Sporting News' 2014 Preseason “Top Impact Frosh” in the Sun Belt Conference . . . Earned Class 6A All-State recognition as an athlete in 2013, playing at the cornerback, receiver, running back and return specialist positions . . . Named an Opelika-Auburn News Super 8 Senior and named to its All-Area Team . . . Helped lead Auburn High School to its first ever state championship game appearance in 2013 . . . Senior season saw him average 24.6 yards on kickoff returns with four touchdowns, while he also posted 129 rushing yards on 16 attempts and 242 receiving yards with four touchdowns on 13 receptions . . . He tallied 25 tackles, four sacks, 13 pass break-ups and three interceptions from his cornerback position . . . Finished his junior campaign with 323 receiving yards and five touchdowns . . . Rivals.com 3-star recruit . . . 3-star recruit and ranked as the No. 53 player in the state of Alabama and No. 154 athlete in the nation by ESPN.com . . . 247Sports.com's composite rankings 3-star recruit, and also listed by the Web site as the No. 34 overall player in the state of Alabama and No. 110 athlete in the nation.

PERSONAL:  Son of Evi Taylor and Arkansas State cornerbacks coach Trooper Taylor . . . One sister, Starr, who is a member of the A-State women's basketball team . . . Only current FBS player in the nation to earn both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees before the start of his true senior season . . .Earned his Master of Business Administration in August 2017 with a 3.82 GPA, and he also graduated Magna Cum Laude in August 2016 with his bachelor’s degree in business administration . . . A member of the Arkansas State University Chancellor’s List, Dean’s List, Athletics Director’s Honor Roll and Sun Belt Conference Commissioner’s List, Taylor earned both degrees in less than four years . . . Named a Top 10 junior in the College of Business, and he is a recipient of the Strong-Turner 3.0 Society Award . . . One of just eight students to receive a prestigious Distinguished Service Award from Arkansas State University in April 2017 . . . .Heavily involved in community service while also spending time on the Arkansas State Student-Athlete Advisory Committee . . .  Created a non-profit organization with his sister, sophomore A-State women’s basketball guard Starr Taylor, titled “The Power of 1 or 2.”  The organization is designed to work with underprivileged at-risk children.  He is highly invested in working with at-risk youth, including participating at a local alternative school called Success Academy . . . Active with Fellowship of Christian Athletes and has organized and coordinated student-athletes’ efforts to sponsor a child at Christmas by collecting monetary donations and purchasing gifts on the children’s Christmas lists . . . A speaker at the first ever Annie Camp Junior High School football team’s “Mom’s Night,” Taylor has also been an Autism Walk participant, acted as a Special Olympics volunteer and worked with community health and wellness education activities, as well as alcohol and drug awareness events . . . Word Campus Church member, where he has also participated in community service events.  Additionally, Taylor volunteers at local schools and churches as part of team community service projects, and he participated in the “Feed the Children” event at the 2016 Cure Bowl . . . Participated in A-State Athletics' study abroad trip to London in the summer of 2017.

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