Florida's all-time leading rusher Kelvin Taylor (Belle Glades, Fla./Glades Day) received his game jersey Friday afternoon during the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game. The No. 1 running back in the ESPN 150 has amassed 11,418 career rushing yards, breaking the previous mark that was held by Emmitt Smith (8,804) as a junior.
Taylor, a 5-foot-11, 210-pound four-star athlete, remained humble despite the fanfare that comes with receiving an invitation to the premier All-America game in the country.
"It's a blessing to be invited to this game," Taylor said. "I just want to thank all of our offensive linemen and everyone. It means a whole lot to me to be in this all-star game. I couldn't have done it without them."
For Taylor, it's always been a dream of his to play in the UA Game. In fact, he said it's been motivation for him ever since he started playing varsity football five years ago.
"Ever since my eighth grade year, in the summertime, I have worked my butt off to get to this point," Taylor said. "I feel like if I don't work hard every day, then someone else is going to get better than me. I've been working out so much, even after football practice, I'll come home and work out some more. I'll work at little details just to get better, because that's what it's going to take to get me to the next level. It's the little things you do. I'm just proud of what I've done and God has really blessed me."
Taylor will be joined at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., by four other Florida verbal commits: Vernon Hargreaves III, Caleb Brantley, Alvin Bailey and Keanu Neal. He said he's looking forward to getting to know his future teammates and spending time with them in Lake Buena Vista (Fla.), where practices are held for the Under Armour game.
"It's going to be great," Taylor said. "We got Vernon in there, and there's a couple more guys that are in the game. It's going to be a great experience to go up there and spend time with those guys and then go off to Florida and spend more time with them, it's really a great experience."
Despite being committed to the Gators since Feb. 18, Taylor said there is one school that still stays in contact with him.
"Alabama still calls me," Taylor said. "I just let them know that I'm thankful and everything, but I'm definitely going to the University of Florida. They don't call as much as last year, but every now and then they call."
Taylor, who plans to enroll early at Florida, has been impressed with Florida's running game this season. He thinks he will help contribute as a freshman.
"I see myself fitting in very good at Florida as a freshman," Taylor said. "They have a great offensive line. Coach [Will] Muschamp is doing a great job up there. Coach [Brian] White is a great running backs coach, we talk just about every week on the phone. I see myself doing a great job up there and I'm just so ready to get on campus."
Taylor's father, Fred, was "Mr. Football" in the state of Florida in 1993, an all-SEC running back for the Gators and made the 2008 NFL Pro Bowl, but never had the chance to play in a game like the Under Armour All-America game. The younger Taylor said he tries not to rub it in too much.
"No, no, not really, I don't bring it up." Taylor laughed. "Not at all. He was like, 'back in the day there wasn't no Under Armour game or anything like that. Y'all guys are so lucky to play in a game like that.' He just jokes with me about stuff like that. He's happy for me though."