By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky senior defensive tackle Calvin Taylor will be going to his fourth straight bowl game when the Wildcats head to Charlotte for a matchup with Virginia Tech in the Dec. 31 Belk Bowl.
Kentucky lost the Taxslayer Bowl his freshman year and Music City Bowl as a sophomore before UK did beat Penn State in the Citrus Bowl to end last season.
“It’s always good to end on a victory if that’s your last time playing. It’s always good to go out on a high note with a victory,” Taylor said. “Just to be able to thank our fans for traveling, just everybody that supported us, just cap off a season with a nice eight-win season is always good.”
He says four straight bowl games for his recruiting class is a “culmination” of players sticking together and believing in coach Mark Stoops. He still remembers the “why not Kentucky” recruiting slogan Stoops and recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow used to convince players they could help change the UK program.
“I think that really shows that we’re not a program that’s just satisfied with going to a bowl. We’ve turned ourselves into a program that’s respected across the country,” Taylor said. “We kind of know about Virginia Tech. I had some family members that went to school there, so they have a very storied program. It’s definitely a notable program so just getting on the national stage and being able to show how we fare against other teams like that is always important.”
Taylor, lightly recruited out of high school, is second in the Southeastern Conference with 7.5 quarterback sacks this season. His play was a big reason UK’s defense turned out to be much better than most anticipated this season.
“I’m just a team guy. I always pride myself on being selfless and doing whatever comes with the team, so if it falls within the scheme, then so be it,” Taylor said of the sacks.