Icon SMI - Devin Taylor

SDS is continually counting down the top 25 players in the SEC for 2012, and we’re not stopping until we get to No. 1.

Devin Taylor – No. 15

January 9th of this year was a great day indeed for Carolina fans because redshirt defensive end Devin Taylor announced he was returning for his senior season. Taylor will be the bookend opposite Jadeveon Clowney.

There was much hype heading into last year about Taylor after he came off of a monster sophomore season. So, emotions were high, as were expectations.

Taylor obviously didn’t have the junior year he was hoping; so, that’s probably the main reason he’s returning for his senior season.

The 6’7”, 260lb defensive end finished with 42 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and six sacks on the year in 2011. He will try to redeem those numbers this coming season, and I happen to think he will.

Taylor has massive raw athletic ability. The NFL in particular loves tremendous upside, potential and quickness. He possesses all of these. Taylor also has the ability to play linebacker at the next level as well. I hope we get to see some of that this season.

His athletic ability really helps him create a tremendous amount of pressure on the quarterback and make plays all over the field coming off the edge.

However, even though Taylor has a ton of athletic ability, he still needs to hone his craft during his senior season. In particular, he needs to improve his strength overall, but with another year under his belt in the weight room, that should be taken care of.

I think Taylor will have a big-time senior season at defensive end, and he will help fill that void left by Melvin Ingram. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have the biggest freak in the SEC on the other side of the line in Jadeveon Clowney helping to take double teams the other direction.

Those two will be quite the pair this coming season.

DEVIN TAYLOR IN 2010:

The Countdown: