#9 Taylor Laird
Previous College: Sacramento (Calif.) City College
Status: On Scholarship
Taylor Jonathon Laird (b. Sept. 18, 1995) is a mysterious, last-minute replacement quarterback for Daniel Sams, although his game seems to be more in line with Collin Klein. Luckily for us, an injury kept his recruiting profile low.
Laird played briefly for Sacramento City College under head coach Dannie Walker before an injury in the third quarter of the second game ended his season. He's still listed as a freshman, so I presume he then redshirted.
He completed 43 of 83 (51.8 percent) of his passes for 507 yards and five touchdowns in his short stint in 2013.
Those stats are even more impressive when you consider the context of his first and only full JUCO game. Laird passed for 474 yards and five touchdowns in a 37-31 overtime victory against Sierra Community College.
Then came the injury that cut short his season, community college career and any remaining recruiting attention from major universities, GoPowercat.com related earlier this summer:
"It was the third quarter of the second game againstRiver when I heard something pop on a play," recalls Laird of the sack that finished his freshman season of junior college football. "I went to get an X-ray after the game and learned I had a fracture that cracked all the way through my fibula."
"That game and a half [Laird] was playing at a level that we haven't seen here since 2009 by a kid by the name of Cody Allen," (coach Dannie) Walker stated in an article for SacCityExpress back in October. "[Laird] was on pace to do some amazing things here from a leadership standpoint and from an athletic standpoint."
Before enrolling at Sacramento City College, Laird prepped under head coachat Oakmont High School, where he passed for 1,859 yards while rushing for 668 yards with a combined 25 touchdowns.
Laird earned all-league honors as a senior, but he probably is most famous for making ESPN's SportsCenter highlights for executing a "bouquet toss" fake extra point that gave the an improbable 44-43 win.
While Klein was an influence on his decision to commit to Kansas State, Laird said he actually patterns his play after a different rugged, mobile, outspokenly Christian quarterback who's been featured at a Heisman ceremony:
"I've watched lots of Collin Klein, yes," began Laird, who runs a 4.72 (40-yard dash) with a quick 4.18 agility time. "But I'd say with my size and play making ability, Tim Tebow is more a guy I play like because I have the quickness to get going. He's a role model for me on and off the field. Tebow's been my guy since my sophomore year of high school."
"I was out two and a half months after my injury but I'm back stronger than before," the junior college prospect says. "The game plan now is for me to work my butt off and compete for playing time after the first year."
If his career turns out like either of those legends, Laird undoubtedly will go down as the next great K-State quarterback. He'll have a lot of competition from Jesse Ertz and Alex Delton, though.