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Bo Taylor: The Ball Player and the Student

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Bo Taylor: The Ball Player and the Student

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It is a warm, late winter, Monday afternoon and the South Pointe Stallions are playing the Central High School Eagles. Bowman Hughes Taylor is blaring his pre-game music, Last Breathe by Future, through his gold wireless Solo Beats headphones, and getting ready to go to battle.

Pre-game warm-ups are over, the national anthem is sung, and it is go-time.

The announcer calls out “batting second for the Stallions, Bo Taylor!”

His walk up song, Trust in Jesus by Third Day, blares through the surrounding stadium speakers.

Bo digs his cleats into the batter’s box and waits on the pitch. On the first pitch, Bo holds off, and watches the ball go by.

The umpire yells, “Ball!”

The next pitch is a fastball right in Bo’s wheelhouse. In the blink of an eye, we hear a “crack,” see Bo take off down the first baseline, round first, and slide head-first into second base. The dugout, where his teammates are sitting, erupts into cheers.

Bo ended up batting 3 for 5 and had two stolen bases during that game.

Standing at 6-feet tall, weighing in at 178 pounds, with tan skin, blue eyes, brown hair, and a strong jaw line, Bowman Taylor is the starting catcher for the South Pointe High School baseball team. He is also a top recruit in the state of South Carolina and a Coastal Carolina commit.

Taylor is the very definition of a student athlete. With an extremely high GPA of 4.79, he is at the top of his senior class, a true leader in the classroom and on the diamond.

Ever since middle school, Taylor has focused on his academics first, and then his baseball career. Taylor took the double-advanced route throughout middle school and AP/Dual Credit throughout high school.

Being a devout Christian, Taylor takes his religion very seriously. He has his favorite Bible verse, Romans 1:16, tattooed on the back of his left Triceps. The verse says: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel; for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes…”

Born into a baseball family, Taylor has been playing ball his whole life. He chuckles while stating that he has had a baseball in his hand since he was about one year old.

Taylor has always been a student of the game. When he was little, his favorite player was Jeff Francouer. Francouer plays right field for the Miami Marlins. He is noted for his strong throwing arm and his free-swinging tendencies in the batter’s box. Francouer is also a devout Christian. While Taylor was watching his first major league baseball game in person with his father, Joel Taylor, Francouer hit a walk-off home run; this definitely caught little Taylor’s eye.

Taylor smiles when asked who his favorite baseball player is now and enthusiastically answers, “Bryce Harper, he plays the game with so much passion, just as I do. I look up to him and try to mimic the young, MVP-award winner’s game.”

Bryce Harper was the first overall pick in the 2010 MLB draft, and was drafted by the Washington Nationals. Harper was selected for the 2012 MLB All-star game, making him the youngest player to ever be selected. Harper tied for the most homeruns hit in the National League in 2015. He was named the National League’ Most Valuable Player in 2015 by unanimous decision. Harper is a beast to say the least.

Thanks to his father, Taylor has always studied hard and practiced even harder. He has always wanted to play professionally, and thanks his father for pushing him to do better.

“My dad helped me realize from a young age just how difficult that would be. So, I’ve always worked as hard as I could and never took anything for granted,” expresses Taylor.

Taylor’s father is the head baseball coach at South Pointe. The players consider his dad and the rest of the staff some of the best coaches they have ever had, which is a blessing.

Despite his superstar status around school and Rock Hill, Taylor is very down to earth and humble. He tries to remain out of the spotlight, going quietly about his schoolwork, workouts, and drills; however, he draws attention because of his magnetic personality.

During his lunch period, Taylor sits with his friends: Addison Johnson, Maggie Pack, and BT Potter, who is the top kicker in the state. He sits down at the cold plastic table, and gets his lunch out. Taylor packs two turkey sandwiches, chex mix, a granola bar, an apple, grapes, and “the classic lemon lime Gatorade.” The meal of champions…. He eats it slowly, as he is always talking.

Taylor and Potter constantly talk about their college decisions and their collegiate athletic careers to each other, while Johnson and Pack sit there and talk about prom dresses or other girly subjects.

Taylor had a major decision to make that would impact the rest of his life: he had to decide where to play baseball collegiately and further his academic career.

He was recruited by multiple schools throughout the southeast, including Coastal Carolina, College of Charleston, Florida Gulf Coast, UNC-Wilmington, and Clemson.

Taylor consulted his parents, Joel and Tracy Taylor, about his decision. Throughout many weeks of college visits, talking with coaches and players, and many prayers, he had come to a decision.

Taylor committed to play baseball for Coastal Carolina on Dec. 7, 2015 and signed his letter of intent on Nov. 9, 2016.

When asked what was special about Coastal, Taylor pauses, smiles, and says, “I went to a camp there, and it instantly felt like home. They pride themselves in being blue collar and being a family, which matched up perfectly with who I am.”

Taylor also fell in love with the coaching staff at Coastal. Coach Schnall, an assistant coach and head of recruiting, and Coach Gilmore, the head coach, fell in love with him also. He proudly boasts that these two coaches are the best in the business.

Coastal Carolina won the 2016 College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. This team fought and clawed their way to a national championship in which they defeated the Arizona Wildcats four games to three.

As far as how it feels to be committed to the defending national champions, Taylor can’t help but grin and say, “It is humbling for sure. To say that the best team in the nation wants me to play ball for them is a dream come true. It’s also motivating because knowing I’m walking into a locker room with some of the best players in the country makes me want to work even harder.”

Taylor will enroll this summer to get some of his basic freshman classes out of the way. During baseball season, he will have very little time to study and do his classwork.

Colleges normally practice once a day. They play a game or two during the week, and then a three game series on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. As a result, a player has little time to study and will miss a fair amount of class time, “this will put some academic stress on me; however, I am up to the challenge!”

Taylor is extremely thankful to be blessed with such a great talent, work ethic, and parents and coaches who will push him to his breaking point.

 

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