He was expected to be Tennessee football’s top playmaker heading into the season, and Darrell Taylor showed up Saturday. Taylor was a big reason Zach Wilson couldn’t use his mobility throughout the game to torch the Vols, as he was able to contain the guy while also making the splash plays we all expected.
For the day, Taylor had eight tackles and a sack. He also had a quarterback hurry. A notably play by him was on that final drive in regulation. He recovered on a rush and chased down Wilson for what should have been ruled a sack but instead was a rush for no gain. Anyway, after that, Wilson had his Hail Mary pass, so everybody forgot about that.
But what’s clear is that Taylor knew how to be effective, and as a fifth-year senior, he is playing with a lot of heart and passion. That was certainly an improvement for him, as well, over his first game. His sacks came in bunches last year, but getting one early on this year may give him the chance he needs to become explosive.
At 6’4″ 255 pounds, Taylor is a physical specimen who should be blowing up plays against Group of Five teams. He did that on Saturday, and it’s not his fault the Vols came away with a heartbreaking loss.