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Shhh...Devin Taylor Quietly Leads on the Gamecocks D-Line

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Those are two nicknames that Alshon Jeffery and Melvin Ingram jokingly say Devin Taylor has earned from his teammates due to his quiet nature. The 6-7, 260-pound defensive end boasts an imposing frame on the field, built long and lean for a quick pass rush and wide reach. But off the field, the young man from Beaufort, South Carolina, is calm and reserved - spending his time fishing, mud racing and other outdoor activities, playing video games, or working on computers as part of his Integrated Information Technology major.

"I don't really talk much," Taylor said, softly. "I really just play ball. They don't expect me to be the vocal leader, so I don't have to worry about that."

As the more loquacious and outgoing man on the line, senior defensive end Melvin Ingram believes their different playing styles and personalities complement each other.

"I guess it's just the best of both worlds. He's silent but his production speaks for itself," said Ingram. "Devin motivates me as well as the other defensive linemen to play hard. Devin is a tremendous player. It was no surprise to me when he made All-SEC last year."

FB-11 Devin Taylor vs. Vandy.jpeg
Taylor sacks Vanderbilt QB Larry Smith

Taylor has been consistent on the field since he arrived at Carolina. After being named a Freshman All-SEC performer in 2009, he led the defensive line in tackles in 2010 with 46 stops and had the team-highs for tackles-for-loss (12), pass breakups (8), and quarterback hurries (11). He was second to only Ingram on the team with 7.5 sacks.

"When I first met Devin I felt he was a quiet and humble player, but when he gets on the field he's an animal just like Melvin," said freshman defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles. "His playing style is just different from anybody else's, I've really never seen anybody like him. He's fundamentally sound. He just flies around and makes plays."

Taylor was actually leading the defensive front in tackles again this season until Ingram collected 11 tackles vs. Auburn to move ahead. But Taylor is not one to get caught up in statistics. If he makes one play, he just wants to go out and make another one. Taylor didn't even realize it when he collected a season and career-high nine tackles against Navy, estimating that he only had maybe four or five.

"Devin has probably been our most consistent player so far this season," said defensive line coach Brad Lawing. "He doesn't have a lot of big plays but he's got a lot of tackles on the line. He's been very consistent, always doing what he's supposed to do."

A key to his consistency may be that Taylor is a highly intelligent player who prefers to play with his head first, then just let his body take over the execution. Small details such as watching an opposing lineman's feet during film study and the game help him develop a plan of attack.

"He knows every position on the d-line," said the freshman Quarles. "If we (the freshmen) are out there and get lost we look to him and he'll tell you [what to do]. I really look up to Devin. He's a heck of a player."

Quarles illustrates what most everyone feels about Taylor, including Taylor himself. He doesn't need to be expressive and loud to push his teammates. Clich├ęd as it may be, he truly does lead by example. 

 "The kids know that he's a good football player and you can lead when you're a good football player, you don't have to be real vocal. It helps, but you don't have to be," said Lawing, then adding what may be the most important element: "The kids respect him."

More on Devin:

Gamecock Spotlight: Devin Taylor

A look at mud racing, Devin came in first place with the race below:

It's Great to be a Gamecock: Devin Taylor

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