Central grad Taylor happy to still be a Wolverine

 

DOVER — Greg Taylor is a grad student.

So he’s got one foot in the real world and the other still in the relatively-sheltered world that college provides.

At 22, the Sussex Central High grad is happy just to still call himself a football player.

“It’s just part of my life,” said Taylor, a Wesley College safety. “I don’t know what I would do without football right now.”

Taylor definitely appreciates having one last season with the Wolverines, which starts tonight when No. 11 Wesley faces a 7 p.m. showdown against No. 20 Delaware Valley in Doylestown, Pa.

The Aggies handed the Wolverines a 21-14 loss in Dover to start last season. Taylor says Wesley knows it has to be better prepared this time around.

Sussex Central High grad Greg Taylor (35) is also an All-American on Wesley’s track team. /Wesley sports information photo

“We’re pretty excited about this game,” said Taylor. “Basically we weren’t executing like we were supposed to (last year). We were misaligned a lot. I guess we had first-game jitters you could call it.

“Right after the game, everybody sat down and said, ‘We’ve got to get better, we’ve got to do better than that.’ We did not play our best that day.

“This year, we prepped right,” Taylor added. “We’ve got to make sure we execute and do our assignments and our jobs.”

Having Taylor in the secondary is one reason that coach Mike Drass is confident that the Wolverines will be better prepared this year.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Taylor is Wesley’s second-string strong safety behind sophomore Coray Williams. Drass said Taylor brings a lot of maturity to the position.

A three-time NCAA Division III track All-American sprinter for Wesley, Taylor has been used as a fifth defensive back and on special teams.

“I really felt like he came in this year with a great attitude and worked himself onto the field,” said Drass. “And we’re excited to put him out there.

“Here’s a veteran guy who’s been with us for five years. He’s the guy who knows all the checks, he’s the guy that understands this defense. So we’re counting on him to make sure that people are in the right spot at the right time. He’s been through this.”

After earning a degree in law and justice last year, Taylor had to decide whether he wanted to come back to school or not.

He’s working towards a graduate degree in criminal justice. He hopes to become a U.S. marshall.

“He came to us and said, ‘You know what? I’m graduating, but I’ve got the rest of my life to work,’” said Drass. “ ‘I’d love to run track one more year and I’d love to play football one more year.’”

Taylor thinks he made the right decision. He knows a lot of his friends wish they could still be playing.

“I see younger guys than me coming in and they’re making jokes about me being 22 years old and still playing,” he said with a smile.

“Actually, it helps me manage my time more,” Taylor added. “It keeps me on a track and a schedule. Without football, I think I would just be lost for a little bit.”

Getting his kicks

After graduating Eric Speidel and having Cooper Bentz move away, Wesley had to find both a new starting placekicker and a punter.

But they found one solution in Nick Bruhn.

The sophomore is slated to handle both the placekicking and punting jobs this fall. That puts a good deal of responsibility on his shoulders — or leg.

Bruhn spent a lot of the summer working at kicking camps back home in Virginia.

“There’s always something to improve on,” he said. “I’m not perfect. I’ll always have one of those kicks I’ll miss or I’ll shank. I’ve got to work on my consistency.”

A year ago, Bruhn made 4-of-8 field-goal attempts, including a 44-yarder. He also punted six times for an average of 37.7 yards.

“Nick is such a traditional kicker/punter,” Drass said about the 6-foot-2, 170-pounder. “He’s tall, lean and very flexible. When he hits it right, it’s a thing of beauty. He’s playing with a lot of confidence right now.”

Extra points

Drass is second on the all-time victory list among active Division III coaches with 218 wins. Only Montclair State’s Rick Giancola has more with 234. … Wesley is 10-2 in its last 12 season openers. Both losses have come against Delaware Valley. … The Aggies have nine players from Delaware on their roster. … Bentz is now going to college at Arizona.

Sports editor Andy Walter can be reached at 741-8227 or walter@newszap.com.

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