The 2013 season was one that the Florida Gators would rather not remember. It was a season filled with injuries, sub-par play and, ultimately, a 4-8 record. That marked the first time since 1979 that the Gators did not finish at .500 or better.
If there was a bright spot during such an awful season, it had to be the play of running back Kelvin Taylor. As a freshman, Taylor got an opportunity to play quite a bit more as the season progressed, especially after the injury to Matt Jones. Taylor took full advantage of his opportunity, rushing 111 times for 508 yards and four touchdowns. He also caught five passes for 37 yards.
Taylor certainly earned an opportunity to compete for the starting running back job in 2014. And his pedigree would say that he should be playing. His father, former Gator Fred Taylor, was a star in college, and went on to play in the NFL.
In high school, the younger Taylor surpassed NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith in the record books, becoming the all-time leading rusher in Florida high school history. Taylor broke Smith’s record as a junior, and added to it during his final season at Belle Glade High, where he finished with 12,121 yards rushing and 191 career touchdowns.
Taylor will have to compete for the job in 2014. Jones will be returning for the Gators, as will Mack Brown. But if new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper and head coach Will Muschamp want a more dynamic offense in Gainesville in 2014, Kelvin Taylor needs to be the go-to guy out of the backfield.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.