His primary position group, the secondary, is regarded as a strength of the team.
Cam Taylor, versatile and tough, is regarded as a strength of the team.
Before we go forward, please excuse the Nebraska defensive backs if they become a bit obnoxious at times.
“We try to be the strongest group on the team,” Taylor said. “We’re always trying to do things together outside of football. We’re trying to encourage everybody to get like us because we’re loud on the field and all obnoxious. Everybody knows we’re there. We’re just trying to let everyone know we’re here and we’re coming for everything.”
The 6-foot, 215-pound Taylor, a sophomore from Montgomery, Alabama, will help lead the way in his own unique manner. He says his mother has long told him he’s a born leader -- someone who should take charge.
Plus, he’s a uniquely versatile player, capable of playing safety, cornerback, nickel back or even linebacker at times.
If someone from back home asks him what position he plays, what does he tell them?
“I tell them ‘athlete,’” he said. “I can do it all. That’s it.”
Nebraska secondary coach Travis Fisher was asked how he characterizes Taylor’s role on the defense.
“Cam is a starter -- he’s a starter on this defense,” the coach said. “That’s his role. He’s asked to do the same things a senior would be asked to do. Asked to do the same things that guys we study on TV in pro football do, which is a very high level.”
Taylor’s high-grade athleticism and high degree of want-to enable him to cross-train at different positions and be a mainstay in the defense’s sub-packages. For instance, in the nickel defense, he’ll often be the fifth defensive back, or the “Cinco.” He said he plays mostly corner and safety. He could get meaningful playing time at either spot on any given Saturday.
In short, Taylor will be on the field a lot.
Fisher describes Taylor as a “natural leader.” He does it by example, with aggression.
His "all-in" approach to football helps explain how he was able as a true freshman in 2018 to contribute in the secondary and special teams after leading Park Crossing High School to a 10-2 record as a senior quarterback. He put up big numbers for the Thunderbirds, then came to Lincoln and contributed 12 tackles, including eight on defense.
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He also broke up three passes and recovered a fumble against Troy.
“For the most part, Cam came in (last season) with two feet in,” Fisher said. “He dove straight in. He wasn’t scared to make a mistake. He was very vocal. He was at meetings on time. He was coming back to extra meetings. That’s the kind of stuff you look for from a young guy. We had some older guys who weren’t even doing it last year.
“Cam’s kind of grabbed on to that role, and he’s gotten even better with it.”
His mom, Courtney Britt, probably looks on with a knowing smile.
“Playing in high school, I always had to be that leader,” Taylor said. “I didn’t want to play quarterback in high school, but I did it for the best of my team just like I’m doing here with everything. I’ve always been that team player. When I played quarterback, I felt like I had to be that vocal leader because we didn’t have that vocal leader.”
Taylor is part of a Nebraska secondary that is led by veteran corners Lamar Jackson and Dicaprio Bootle. Both corners are regarded as team leaders. What’s more, junior safety Deontai Williams has been known to be a vocal presence on the field, occasionally exchanging smack talk with quarterback Adrian Martinez.
So, for Taylor, it isn’t like high school in that Nebraska does have other vocal leaders. But Taylor is more than willing to chime in.
“Whatever this team needs, I’m down,” he said.
He's found a niche at NU. But as a high school star -- he visited Auburn and received more than a dozen scholarship offers -- he wasn’t sure whether he wanted to play on offense or defense in college.
“I really didn’t know until coach (Scott) Frost and Fish came to my house and I had to choose right in from of them,” Taylor said. “They asked me if I wanted to play quarterback or DB? I was just like, ‘I want to hit.’ That’s it. So defense it is.”
As a quarterback, “I got tired of being hit," he said. "I took two injuries in high school for taking too many licks at quarterback. I just had a little trauma, I guess. But if they need me to step up now and play quarterback, I’m doing it for this team.”
By the way, he said, he also may help the Huskers this season as a return man.
“Anything this team needs, I promise you I’m doing it.”
No wonder his coaches like him so much.