On the Saturday of the Missouri game, senior stand-out defensive end Devin Taylor was with his team winning their first home SEC game of the season in dominating fashion on national TV on CBS. The Thursday afternoon before the game? Devin Taylor was helping wire the CBS production crew's internet at the stadium.
Devin Taylor on the gridiron
Taylor is not only playing football for Carolina this fall, he is interning with the athletics department's Information Technology staff, led by IT Manager David Hutson and IT Coordinator Toni Rabon. Taylor's major, Integrated Information Technology, includes a 400-hour internship for students to graduate.
The unique program, housed in UofSC's College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management, gives students an in-depth background in information technologies including computer networking, database systems, corporate training and development, and end-user support. Taylor said that he and freshman T.J. Gurley are the only two football players currently in the major.
"We do a little bit of everything in and about computers and programs," Taylor explained. "In one of my favorite classes we learned about networks and different protocols you have to have for security and for a computer to have internet, then another favorite class we actually built a computer."
Taylor said he was always interested in computers as a kid and enjoyed tinkering around with them. In middle school and high school there were several technology-related classes that boosted his interest further. After considering a major in electrical engineering or computer engineering at Carolina, Taylor decided on the Integrated IT major. He liked that it also included the business aspect of IT, saying that after hopefully playing professional football, his goal is to work for an IT company or perhaps start his own company.
Devin Taylor off the gridiron
Working with Hutson and Rabon, Taylor has been involved in all aspects of IT support for the athletics department whether it's working in the computer labs at the Dodie Academic Center, projects in the newly opened Rice Athletics Center, or helping check all the different network connections at Williams-Brice Stadium before a game. On the day we talked with him, he was working with Hutson on a website-based calendar to assist the athletics business office with coordinating air travel.
While football players often run into stereotypes, Taylor breaks the mold in more ways than one. His distinctive style, including colorful hair and long forearms full of wristbands, and a quiet personality that earned him the nickname "Don't Say Nothin'" help him stand out in a crowd even more than his 6-foot-8-inch, 267-pound frame.
"I think a lot of people were shocked, especially the first couple weeks I was here," said Taylor. "I think they thought I was just [at their office] to see them until they realized I was actually an intern doing technology...Not a lot of athletes are in this major, but I'm doing something that can be used a lot in the future."