Monday, May 7, 2007

Linfield Legend: Justin Taylor

We kickoff Linfield Legend Month with Justin Taylor. Justin was an incredible Linebacker (1994-1998) that was a leader with his actions and his words. Former teammate Mitch Chadwick, Defensive Tackle 1994-1998, was a multiple time 1st team tackle and paved the way for many of JT's free runs at quarterbacks and running backs. Mitch was nice enough to pen some words about his time with JT and some memories that stand out. In fact, you'll be able to see #99 in on many of the standout plays that JT piled up over the years. Take it away #99
My first meeting with JT came at a summer workout at Linfield. Everyone had met up and introduced themselves and began the routine. I noticed a very intense player from the get go. Not to mention the fact that he had a goth mullet gone totally wrong. I can't remember the exact reason why, but he had dyed his hair jet black. Sweet!!

During our playing years JT never lost that intensity. On gameday's nobody had a more serious look to them. Now, I enjoyed some "butt rock" and highlight video stuff to get myself amped up but JT would take things to a whole different level. He would rarely speak in pre-game other than the occasional "yep", if he was looking for something or if you needed to shut... you get the idea. I always took a sort of sick humor in trying to annoy JT during pre-game. Ask him questions, get other people to watch what he was doing. The fun never stopped. He never snapped at me that I can recall but he probably should have.

Where would Linfield football be today without the term "Jailbreak"? My only regret with this one is that I was not there to soak it up in all of it's glory. I had been called out with the captains just prior to the infamous speech. All I remember is people coming out of the lockeroom charged up. Someone came up to me (probably Carlson) and said, "Dude, you should have heard JT! He went off!" Numerous others shared the same sentiment. Wish I had that on video.

Senior Year- I had gone back to school a little early to hang out with teamates and such when I ran into JT. Carlson and I had wandered into the pool area because we heard JT had shown up early. He had taken a fishing job in Alaska (or something like that) and we were expecting to see him pretty ripped up. Upon entering the pool area we noticed a very hairy object swimming. He pulled his scraggly frame out of the water and showed up the body he'd been working on all summer. It looked like he hadn't eaten all summer. Wow!! Didn't make a difference on the field though.

I will say that JT was probably the toughest guy I played with in my years at Linfield. It didn't matter who we played, JT was always the same dominent player. Coaches like to loosely throw the term "ballhawk" around. JT definately a ballhawk. He knew where to be and when. If you don't believe me watch a 97 or 98 highlight tape (muted) or check his stats in the back of a program.

Did I mention that he changed his number to 69 our junior year? Classy.

Oh yes, I almost forgot, don't ever ask JT what the call is before he gets it from the Loce-dog. Feel free to ask Neil Maddox how that went.

-Mitch Chadwick (Defensive Tackle 1994-1998)

1 comment:

Downtown48 said...