Louis Taylor

Magna Vista's Louis Taylor (4) has committed to play football at Liberty University as a defensive back in 2020.

On Saturday, Taylor went back to Lynchburg, took a tour of the campus, and met with more members of the athletic department. He drove home, spoke to his parents, Magna Vista Head Football Coach Joe Favero, and Warriors assistant coach Jon Schlueter, and made the decision to continue his football career at Liberty, which he announced on Twitter Sunday afternoon.

“When I went there it was instantly love. It felt like I was home,” Taylor said Monday at Magna Vista. “I got the offer the first day (Friday)… (Saturday) night I pretty much had my mind made up and made the call the next day.

“It meant everything. It’s what I’ve been wanting.”

Taylor went to the Flames’ facilities Friday and the coaching staff, including Head Coach Hugh Freeze, put Taylor through a combine-like workout. Taylor ran a 40-yard dash, which he ran between a 4.4 and 4.5, did a shuttle drill, the vertical jump, etc. and also ran him through a number of defensive back drills. Although Taylor makes a lot of highlights out of the offensive backfield on Friday nights, the Flames like the 6-foot-1-inch Taylor to play defensive back.

“At first I was nervous,” he said. “As I got going I started loosening up a little bit.”

The workout in front of Liberty’s coaches was Taylor’s first major team workout, so the nerves were clearly there, but having a former SEC coach in Freese running the show added another level of nerves.

“That’s why I was a little nervous because he’s used to seeing five-star recruits, All-American players,” Taylor said.

“That was his first big camp and he goes up there and (performs) right away and Liberty loved him,” Favero said. “They wanted him to commit. I thought that was important, a place that really wants you. They gave him his first offer, they really want him, and he really liked that campus.”

Taylor said he felt that love while talking to Freeze and the rest of the coaching staff, and that’s why he felt comfortable with his choice.

“It made it a whole lot easier,” he said. “I just felt instant love.”

For Favero, Taylor becomes the seventh Magna Vista player in the last seven years to commit to play at the Division 1 level, the last core being Jac Hairston (Coastal Carolina), Tre Redd (Wake Forest) and Shoalin McGuire (North Carolina Central) from the back-to-back state championships in 2014 and 2015.

“It’s a great honor.  The kids who have done it have worked really hard,” Favero said. “Any guys we can get to come out of here, I think it’s great for the program.”

Redd, like Taylor, made his commitment to Wake Forest prior to the start of his senior season. Now Taylor hopes to follow in Redd’s footsteps and use his senior season to continue getting better and hopefully bring home another state championship.

“They know they’re going to compete with the best when they get there. I thought Tre did an excellent job of just trying to get better every day. He didn’t say, ‘hey I’m going to Wake and I’m already a good player.’ He said, ‘Hey, I’ve got to be ready to compete when I go to Wake,” Favero said. “That’s what we’ll expect from Louis. Be a leader. Don’t just be happy with where we’re at because you’re going to go against the best. You’re going to play better players than we’re going to play on Friday nights here so you better be ready to work as hard as you can for the next year, because the football is only going to improve.”

“It’s just motivation. I had my mind set that I wanted to play Division 1 football,” Taylor said. “It kind of holds me to a standard. I can’t take any steps back.”

And Taylor knows exactly what he plans to work on during the offseason training and the 2019 season with the Warriors.

“I need to work on my flexibility. I’m kind of tight. I need to get a little more loose and flexible,” he said.

Taylor is already in that mindset, and it being his senior season brings extra motivation.

“I’m definitely looking forward to going out with a bang. I’ve been wanting a state championship all four years,” he said.

“I’m proud of him,” Favero said.

Chris Doherty is a sports writer for the Martinsville Bulletin. He can be reached a chris.doherty@martinsvillebulletin.com

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