JONESBORO (1/24/14) – Trooper Taylor, a 21-year coaching veteran at the NCAA FBS level who helped lead Auburn to a 2011 BCS National Championship, has been named Arkansas State’s cornerbacks coach as announced by A-State Head Football Coach Blake Anderson.
Taylor has been a part of nine bowl games during his career, which includes stops at Baylor, New Mexico, Tulane, Tennessee, Oklahoma State and, most recently, Auburn. He comes to A-State after serving as the Tigers’ assistant head coach and wide receivers coach from 2009-12.
“As a main of faith, family and football, I am excited to be a part of the Jonesboro community and the outstanding football program here at Arkansas State,” said Taylor. “With back-to-back GoDaddy Bowl victories and three straight Sun Belt Conference championships, this program’s sustained success obviously speaks for itself.”
In Auburn’s 2010 national championship season, Taylor's receiver corps produced in all phases, making impact catches and providing hard-nosed blocking for the Tigers' conference-best rushing attack. Auburn receivers connected on 45 plays of 20 yards or more, including five plays of 60 yards or more, as the Tigers set a school record for points (577) and led the Southeastern Conference averaging 41.2 points per game. The Tigers had three receivers total 500 yards or more and as a unit averaged 16.9 yards per catch, hauling in 2,461 of Auburn's total 3,002 total passing yards.
He helped lead the Tigers to a 43-24 Chick-Fil-A Bowl victory over Virginia and a No. 25 BCS ranking in 2011. Receiver Emory Blake was responsible for six receptions for 108 yards in the bowl-game victory that gave the Tigers their eighth win of the year.
During his first season, he helped the Auburn offense emerge as one of the nation's finest, while also solidifying his reputation as a top-notch recruiter. The Auburn offense set numerous school records during the 2009 season, including points in a season (433), most total yards of offense in a season (5,613) and most plays in a season (914).
Taylor coached Darvin Adams, who broke the Auburn single-season record for receptions with 60 for 997 yards and ranked second in the SEC with 10 touchdown catches. Adams, who entered the season with just three career catches for 18 yards, was named the MVP of the Outback Bowl after hauling in career highs of 12 receptions for 142 yards.
In addition to his coaching duties on the field, Taylor was also instrumental in helping Auburn bring in some of the most highly regarded recruiting classes in the nation as the Tigers’ 2010, 2011 and 2012 recruiting classes were ranked fourth, third and 17th, respectively, by ESPN.com.
Auburn signed a consensus top-five recruiting class in 2010, when Taylor was named to Rivals.com’s its list of the top-25 recruiters in the nation and one of the top 10 recruiters in the SEC. It marked the third time he was named to the top-25 list by Rivals.com, having previously earned the recognition in 2005 and 2007.
In 2008, his only season at Oklahoma State, Taylor helped the Cowboys’ offense produce two first-team All-Americans in wide receiver Dez Bryant and running back Kendall Hunter. A Biletnikoff Award finalist, first-team All-Big 12 selection and academic all-conference member, Bryant led the Big 12 in receiving and was third nationally.
With Taylor working as co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach, the Cowboys played in the 2008 Holiday Bowl and ranked sixth in the nation in total offense (487.7 ypg), eighth in rushing offense (245.46 ypg), ninth in scoring offense (40.7 ppg) and 38th in passing offense (242.23 ypg).
Prior to OSU, Taylor served as Tennessee’s assistant head coach from 2004-07, coaching wide receivers his last two seasons after serving as the running backs coach from 2004-05. While a member of the Tennessee staff, he helped lead the Volunteers to the 2005 Cotton Bowl and 2007 and 2008 Outback Bowl. The Vols posted a pair of 10-win seasons, claimed 34 total victories and finished ranked among the top-25 teams in the nation three times during Taylor’s time with the program.
His first season as running backs coach, Tennessee ranked 24th in the nation in rushing yards (186.0 ypg) with Gerald Riggs Jr. leading the team individually with 85.2 yards per game to rank 47th in the country. Riggs and fellow running back Cedric Houston became UT’s first pair of 1,000-yard rushers in the same season in 2004. His second season, he tutored now NFL All-Pro running back Arian Foster.
Following his move wide receivers coach, the Volunteers ranked 12th in the nation in passing yards with 264.5 yards per game in 2006. Under Taylor’s direction, Robert Meachem was a first-round NFL draft pick after ranking fourth in the nation in receiving yards (99.9 ypg) to earn All-America recognition. The 2007 Tennessee team ranked No. 35 in the nation in passing yards (262.5 ypg), while Lucas Taylor ranked among the top 44 players in the NCAA FBS in both receptions and receiving yards.
Taylor went to Knoxville after coaching receivers at Tulane from 1999-2003. He coached four wideouts into the NFL during his tenure in New Orleans, including Adrian Burnette, Kerwin Cook and Terrell Harris. The fourth future NFL player under his tutelage at Tulane was Roydell Williams, who went on to set school and Conference USA career records for touchdown catches with 35.
Prior to Tulane, he was the running backs coach at New Mexico in 1998 after a five year stint on the coaching staff at Baylor, his alma mater. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant coach at Baylor in 1992, then spent the 1994-97 seasons as the Bears’ wide receivers coach (1994, 1997) and secondary coach (1995-96). He helped lead Baylor to the Alamo Bowl in 1994.
Taylor played defensive back at Baylor from 1988-91 and finished his playing career as the school's leader in kickoff returns (53) and return yardage (1,063), while also helping the Bears to the Copper Bowl his senior campaign. He earned his bachelor’s degree in communications from Baylor University in 1992.
The Cuero, Texas, native is married to the former Evi Crosby of Harbor City, Calif. He and his wife, who was a track and field scholarship student-athlete at Baylor, have one daughter, Starr, and a son, Blaise.