Deacon Sports Xtra: Five questions with Ja’Sir Taylor

Ja’Sir Taylor, cornerback for WFU, talks about his leadership role for this season.

Deacon Sports Xtra: Five questions with Ja’Sir Taylor
July 29
11:18 2021


Though cornerback Ja’Sir Taylor played all 13 games as a junior in 2019, he was the top backup behind everyday starters Amari Henderson and Essang Bassey – two defensive backs who are now under contract in the NFL. 

Taylor waited his turn for that coveted starting slot, but made the most of it when it arrived, breaking out with an All-ACC level performance in 2020. He finished the season fifth on the team with 42 tackles, adding two interceptions, six pass break-ups and a tackle for loss. Taylor also made great strides in leadership after suddenly becoming the most experienced member of the secondary. 

Deacon Sports Xtra chatted recently with Taylor about spring camp and the outlook for the defense in 2021. 

How did spring practice progress for you?

Taylor: “It went good. It was great to be out there. We had great, competitive practices on both sides of the ball and were just having fun out there.”

What is your role in the cornerback room as a leader? 

Taylor: “It’s definitely easier now. It’s not forced nor something I really think about now. When I first stepped into that role, I had to force myself to be more vocal. It’s starting to become second nature to me now. I’m out there helping guys, being loud, communicating the right things on defense and bringing the energy every period. It’s natural. The guys were able to feed off that energy and it translated to great practices.” 

How much growth has he seen from the young defensive backs? 

Taylor: “Their growth is tremendous. They’re still young and last season was really short. So, they’re still kind of new to the game. Nick (Andersen) is building off from his success, as well as Caelen (Carson). We still have a bunch of other young guys in the secondary who we need to get going. Spring practices really helped them. They were able to get a lot of reps and get thrown into the fire. The way the tempo of our offense moves, they have no time to sit back and think. With them being in the playbook, honing in on the film and getting out there and relaxing has really helped them.”

What is the next step in the development of the young cornerbacks?

Taylor: “They really have to really evaluate themselves and step back and take a look at themselves. They need to look at the bigger picture. They need to continue to improve their technique, because both of those guys (Carson and J.J. Roberts) are crazy athletic. They tend to rely on their athleticism a lot, so this spring I was trying to help them with technique. When you get tired, that’s all you have to fall back on. If these guys can get technique and the playbook down, the sky’s the limit. We move quickly, so the quicker they can get in the film room and get the plays down, it’s going to be an exciting season for them.” 

How is the defense trying to move from ‘good to great’ this season?

Taylor: “In the defensive meetings, before we break out into our positions, break down our goals as a unit. Being great on first and second downs will put us in great position on third down. On third down, we have to get off the field. The things we’re honing in on are getting off the field, eliminating big plays and creating energy out there. If we focus on those things together, we believe we can be one of the top defenses in the country.”

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