Sports

Duke adds Trooper Taylor to coach wide receivers

Duke’s Jake Bobo, left, makes a diving catch ahead of N.C. Central’s Daryl Smith, right, during the second half of the Blue Devils’ 55-13 win over the Eagles on Saturay.
Duke’s Jake Bobo, left, makes a diving catch ahead of N.C. Central’s Daryl Smith, right, during the second half of the Blue Devils’ 55-13 win over the Eagles on Saturay. AP

Duke’s football coaching staff is complete again with the hiring of a new wide receivers coach.

Trooper Taylor will join Blue Devils coach David Cutcliffe’s in that position, the school announced Sunday night.

The 48-year-old Taylor replaces Gerad Parker, who left Duke earlier this month to coach wide receivers at Penn State.

Taylor and Cutcliffe previously worked together at Tennessee in 2006 and 2007.

“Obviously, Trooper and I spent time together on the staff at Tennessee just prior to me coming to Duke and I have tremendous respect for him as both a person and coach,” Cutcliffe said in a statement. “As a coach, he is outstanding in every facet – on the practice field, on gameday and in recruiting. On top of that, his relationship-building abilities set him apart from so many others – I know he will connect immediately with the young men in our program and have a great presence in the Yoh Center, at the Brooks Practice Facility, on campus and in our community.”

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Duke football assistant coach Trooper Taylor

Taylor comes to Duke from Arkansas State, where he coached cornerbacks. His son, Blaise Taylor, played for his father at Arkansas State from 2013-17 before coming to Duke as a graduate assistant coach last summer. The father’s move to Durham reunites them.

“I’m so excited about being a part of the Duke family,” Taylor said in a statement. “This is basically a dream job come true, especially to be able to work with David Cutcliffe. We had the opportunity to work together at Tennessee, where we did some great things. What Coach Cutcliffe has done in college football, and the standard he has set, is incredible. When he presented me with this opportunity, I really wanted to take advantage of it and have the chance to be around him again.”

In addition to Tennessee and Arkansas State, Taylor’s college coaching experience includes stops at his alma mater, Baylor (1994-97) in addition to New Mexico (1998), Tulane (1999-2003), Oklahoma State (2008) and Auburn (2009-12).

Taylor becomes Duke’s third wide receivers coach in the last three years. Jeff Faris coached the position in 2017 before moving to tight ends at Duke this season. Faris won the American Football Coaches Association assistant coach of the year award in 2018.

Taylor’s job at Duke will include replacing the team’s three starting wide receivers from last season in Johnathan Lloyd, Chris Taylor and T.J. Rahming. All three were seniors who helped the Blue Devils go 8-5 and win the Independence Bowl.

An Illinois native, Steve Wiseman has covered Duke athletics since 2010 for the Durham Herald-Sun and Raleigh News & Observer. Prior to his arrival in Durham, he worked for newspapers in Columbia and Spartanburg, S.C., Biloxi, Miss., and Charlotte covering beats including the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, University of South Carolina athletics and the S.C. General Assembly.
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