Beaufort Today -

NFL defensive end Taylor helps out at Beaufort football camp

The Beaufort High football program wrapped up its 15th annual youth football camp Friday. The elementary and middle schoolers who attended were in for a big surprise — literally — in the form of 6-foot-7, 276-pound NFL defensive end Devin Taylor.

“He was the official. Nobody’s going to argue with Devin Taylor,” joked Eagles coach Mark Clifford.

Taylor was a monster on the field for Beaufort High, especially during his senior year in 2007 when he led the Eagles to the SCHSL Class AAAA state title game.

In 2013, Taylor was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the fourth round out of University of South Carolina. As a Gamecock, he earned All-SEC second team honors in 2010.

After three seasons in Detroit, the rangy pass rusher signed with the New York Giants in May.

“I’m excited to try out a new team and see what’s in store for me. I’m basically starting from scratch, so it’s just a matter of starting from the ground and going up from there,” Taylor said.

“I probably won’t know my role with the team until the season. Right now, I think they’re using people to fill out their roster and see what they’re good at, stuff like that. I think as we get closer to the season, they’ll start establishing who they’ll be using where and in what situations.”

Taylor said he enjoyed his short time at home working with local youth. He leaves for Giants camp in late July.

“It’s been a cool week hanging out with kids trying to get them experienced with just a little bit of life and little bit of football at the same time. Get them interested in the game and see where it goes from there,” he said.

“I didn’t get the chance to do stuff like this growing up, so getting the chance to come out and support other people that have the ability to do it is always good.”

Just like any summer camp, last week was a good opportunity for kids to get a positive learning experience and something to do between semesters.

Clifford loves the annual event as much as his campers do, moving from field to field to coach and encourage the young men.

“I think it’s one of the best things we do here. We call it a fundraiser, but the best part about it is just the community interaction that we get out of it,” he said.

As an added benefit, the camp often serves as an early look at some future Eagles.

“I bet you on our team right now, at least a quarter of them went through this camp. Maybe close to half of them. Heck, Patrick Talbert had been in it since he was 8 years old,” Clifford said, referring to the camp counselor and former quarterback.

Beaufort is in full summer workout mode and will resume official practices the last week of July.