Ga. Southern star brings new focus to Statesboro - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Ga. Southern star brings new focus to Statesboro

October 23, 2006
by Chris Cowperthwaite

Statesboro-- For the past four years, Georgia Southern fans have watched Charrod Taylor pick up football -- again. He joined the Navy out of high school -- and stepped away from the game.

"Just seeing football again kind of caught me off guard. But as the years progressed, I just became more and more comfortable to be playing," said Eagles' Defensive End Charrod Taylor.  "Right now it's just, it looks good right now."

Those four years away proved to be a life changing experience. Taylor was a stationed on the USS Cole in 2000 when it was bombed by al Qaeda operatives -- 17 of his shipmates lost their lives that day.

 "It was a rough time. I mean we woke up that morning prepared to do our every day routine," said Taylor.

 "It exploded port side. You ever see like a little kid playing in the bathtub and they have a toy ship and it's floating and they pick it up and play with it. "It felt like the ship was just, like someone picked it up and threw it back down in the water. It was just a shock. Because I never felt the ship do anything or have that kind of motion. Especially because we were in port. To feel that, was kind of scary."

"It was just an experience I don't think anyone should have to go through. But if anything it has taught me a lot: to just appreciate the tings I have now, and just be prepared for anything."

Taylor doesn't talk about that day too often -- but it's something that's made him realize nothing in football is too tough to handle, despite the challenges he finds along the way.

"It wasn't easy to catch back up with the game after being away from it, especially my first year, just getting back into the whole football groove. And then coming into a position I've never played before. In high school I played linebacker  and defensive end -- to playing an inside defensive tackle."

"You know I never got in a three point stance until I got GSU. But with the help of Coach Payton, just the people who played before me: Eric Hadly, Eric McIntire, Freddy Prescada. Just watching those guys helped me along."

Now a 26-year-old senior, Taylor -- or "Big Swole" as he's known around the locker room -- is an undisputed leader for the Eagles.

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