Cooper Taylor is now a sophomore all over again. After missing all but nine quarters of 2009 with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (which once caused Meat Loaf to collapse on stage), Taylor has been given another year of eligibility by the NCAA.
The native Atlantan-- two-time All-Georgia safety at Marist -- earned second-team All-ACC honors as a freshman in 2008. Pairing Taylor with future NFL third-round pick Morgan Burnett looked to provide Tech with one of the nation's best safety duos, until Taylor left for the season early in Tech's third game against Miami. This is the story to read of his road to recovery.
Taylor's enormousness (6-foot-4, with 20 all-new pounds of muscle) and clutchiness (he made a famous game-saving goalline fumble-forcing tackle extravaganza against FSU) were missed last year by a defense that was both vulnerable to deep passes and downright squishy up the middle.
The son of '80s Jackets quarterback Jim Bob Taylor is an exceptional athlete, too: he was once clocked as the fastest player on a team that included Demaryius Thomas, Bruce Feldman included him in a list of college football's manliest rep bros, and he inspired at least one Gamecocks forum to debate the matter of college football's fastest Caucasian.