MATTHEWS – The silence was deafening when Butler star offensive lineman Cam Taylor went down with a season-ending knee injury on Oct. 20 with two regular season games left in his senior season.
The silence wasn’t just the missing sound of Taylor’s pads dominating opposing defensive players more times than not. Now it was also coming from those schools that wanted the 6-foot-2, 310-pound lineman to play college football for them.
For the most part, the calls, letters and texts from college coaches stopped coming Taylor’s way. Taylor became a little discouraged. It seemed like he was damaged goods.
“People stopped talking to me like the day of (my injury),” Taylor said. “For most of them, I stopped hearing from them. But I understand it is a business.”
Bulldogs coach Brian Hales was frustrated with how things were going for a player that drew his first start as a freshman before going on to earn postseason accolades beginning with his sophomore season back in 2015.
“The hard part of his recruiting is that we know what kind of player he is,” Hales said. “He played great against some of the highest competition in the state and he has a great transcript. He has been a leader since he has been here. Cam is such a smart kid that he was able to do so many things for us up front.”
Watching his fellow Bulldogs sign to play college football became more and more difficult with each signature for Taylor, but he said he never gave up hope of being in that position.
“First, I was happy for them because we are teammates and brothers and we had been together for four years,” Taylor said. “But at the same time, I was thinking, ‘I wish I could be up there with them.’ But just because something happens for you later doesn’t mean that you are a failure.”
But his time eventually came when the coaching staff at the University of
Charleston saw an opening and Taylor’s dream of playing college football materialized last month when he signed with the Division II school in the capital city of West Virginia.
“Honestly, it is a blessing,” Taylor said. “I had some rough patches through it, but I ended up with the right school. I appreciate Charleston for trusting me and giving me a chance. I love the university and I am in the right spot. It’s a good fit for me.”
Taylor, who was born in West Virginia before moving to North Carolina, said coaches from Charleston came to Butler a week after his knee injury.
“They came to the school and talked with me,” Taylor said. “I was interested because that is where I am from.”
Taylor can, and has, played different spots on the offensive line but where he will land at Charleston won’t be determined until this fall.
“I think they will find out where I fit best after training camp this August,” Taylor said. “I’m six months into my rehab and I feel like I can go now. But I have to trust the doctors and the process. I will be ready to go in August.”
Hales said he has no doubt that Taylor will excel at Charleston.
“One thing that stands out is his versatility,” Hales said. “He started multiple games at center, at guard, at tackle. He is also very athletic. He is a kid that can do a lot of things.”
And Taylor is a kid that never gives up.