Editor’s note: hey y’all I wanted to introduce another new writer we’ve brought on Andrés Serna. I’m really excited to bring him along, y’all give him a welcome!
There is no denying that LSU and new head coach Brian Kelly are going to be a very talented team this fall. However, coming into the 2022 season, one of the areas of concern was the lack of depth at the tight end position. The Fighting Tigers are led at this group by junior Kole Taylor, who only had six catches last season for a pedestrian 68 yards and one touchdown. However, there is an incoming freshman tight end that will be wearing purple and gold this fall that has many Tigers fans excited.
That player is Mason Taylor.
Taylor (no relation to Kole) is built like a prototypical tight end, standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 245 pounds. According to his LSU biography, Taylor is a “versatile” player with “tremendous pass catching ability” but also has a big frame which allows him to “be effective in run blocking”. His film showcases him as a solid route runner and a sure handed pass catcher with deceptively fast speed after the catch.
Taylor is also shown blowing up several defenders when he is blocking and not letting up until the whistle from the officials.
Taylor played for St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and was the starting tight end for the 2020 7A Florida state championship team and was named to the Miami Herald’s All-Broward County 6A-8A first team. He also has great football pedigree as Taylor’s father, Jason, played fifteen seasons in the NFL and was a six-time Pro Bowler, the 2006 NFL Defensive Player of the Year and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Taylor’s uncle is Zach Thomas, who was a thirteen-year veteran in the NFL and a seven-time Pro Bowler himself.
Taylor, who was pegged as a three-star recruit and the twenty-fourth ranked tight end of his class, had several options when it came to choosing where to continue his playing career, including offers from big name programs like the University of Alabama, the University of Miami and the University of Florida. He also attended camps at Florida State University and Texas A&M University and the spring game of the University of Arizona. Taylor was offered by twenty teams, but in the end, on July 29, 2021, Taylor committed to the Bayou Bengals and even after the dismissal of former coach Ed Orgeron, he still signed his letter of intent to play for LSU and new coach Brian Kelly on December 15.
Taylor now steps into a positional group where due to the lack of production last season of those ahead of him on the depth chart may allow for him some playing time, even as a true freshman. However, the best case scenario for him this season is not to be rushed onto the field right away but to gain some valuable experience, perhaps getting playing time in non-conference games or games where the outcome is no longer in doubt. Taylor may have the size and pedigree but there is a giant leap to playing on Friday nights in south Florida to playing in the Southeastern Conference on Saturdays. No doubt that Taylor can develop into something special, especially due to his versatility as a pass catcher and a run blocker, but as the fourth man on the depth chart, the guess is that Taylor will have to be patient and before setting foot on the field this fall.