While at the University of South Alabama, Khameron Taylor never worried about his receiving totals. The Jaguars needed him to focus on blocking to win, and he took pride in that role.
When IU announced the signing of the 6-foot-4-inch, 270-pound tight end graduate transfer, with 85 receiving yards to his name in college and two catches last season, everything pointed toward Taylor being a blocking tight end.
But as you start to peel back the cover on Taylor’s career, his film shows what excited tight ends coach Kevin Wright and the rest of IU’s coaching staff.
While in a run-first offense at South Alabama — whose leading passer only threw 900 yards in 2019 — Taylor frequently sealed the edge of the offensive line for the running back and showed flashes in his few receptions.
While Taylor fit as a blocking tight end with the Jaguars, he believes his best bet to have an influence on the Hoosiers’ offense will come if he loses 15 pounds.
“I could play at 260, I could play at 270, but 255 is where I feel the fastest, where I feel good,” Taylor said during Wednesday’s teleconference.
“I think I just need the opportunity,” Taylor said. “I didn’t at South (Alabama) get to run a lot of routes in games. I didn’t get a lot of targets. I feel like I’m going to make the most of the play when it comes my way.”
Taylor joins IU as much needed depth at tight end.
With the reinstatement timeline for junior tight end Peyton Hendershot still unknown, junior Matt Bjorson is the only active tight end with experience. Redshirt freshman Gary Cooper and sophomore Turon Ivy Jr. both are high potential projects for IU, but aren't expected to be key contributors next season.
While the Hoosiers wait to see how Taylor can develop as a pass catcher, they have comfort in the fact that he’s a standout blocker. When IU goes into “12” personnel — single running back and two tight ends — Taylor hopes to become a dual-threat option as a tight end/offensive lineman hybrid that can catch defenses by surprise.
“I think as far as fitting into our room, he fits as the guy that has that hybrid ability,” Wright said. “Not only his ability to block but also his ability along with our other guys, to be used in the play-action passing game I think will help in those types of short-yardage and maybe even goal-line and red-zone situations.”
Taylor also brings experience to the tight end room. To Wright, nothing replaces game experience and the understanding of how fast the college game is compared to high school. Taylor can serve as a mentor to his younger teammates who hope to break onto the scene in 2020.
What many looked at as a roster filling transfer to gain depth and experience may turn into a key piece of the Hoosiers’ offense.
“I want to fit in and show the guys that I can play too,” Taylor said. “I’m just excited, and I feel like they’re going to push me to better myself, playing around guys that are that talented.”
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