BYU’s Taylor already looking to the next level

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    By Michael Mendenhall

    Young athletes all around the country dream of one day playing on the college level, but many do not get that opportunity.

    For BYU baseball player Brandon Taylor, who started playing at 7 years old, his dreams have come true.

    ?I?ve had three real dreams,? Taylor said. ?First, was to make it to college, second if I could, to play at BYU. My third goal or dream that I have, yet accomplished, is to go play professional baseball.?

    In his second year at BYU, Taylor has switched from shortstop to third base. He said at first it was hard because it was different, but he realizes now that is where he is supposed to be.

    Taylor is batting .361 and leads the team with 11 home runs and 41 RBI. He also has a .723 slugging percentage.

    Before BYU, Taylor started his college career at Utah Valley State College. He batted an impressive .340 in 188 at bats and was first in the league in doubles and ranked second in hits. He was also second-team All-SWAC in the wooden bat league.

    He then left to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Buenos Aires, Argentina. While in Argentina, Taylor signed a letter of intent to play at BYU. Taylor said a mission helped him succeed in baseball.

    ?I think I matured a lot more as far as my body goes,? Taylor said. ?When I came back I was stronger naturally. It?s kind of a freaky thing.?

    In his first season with the Cougars in 2004, Taylor was named to the All-Mountain West Conference baseball team, chosen by the coaches. On the way to a .309 average, Taylor had 22 multi-hit games, nine three-hit games, and a .576 slugging percentage.

    Taylor prepped at Timpanogos High, and as a senior, he batted .441 with 48 RBI in 102 at bats and was named team and region MVP. He also earned All-State honors in the 5A division and Academic All-State.

    Taylor said that when he was growing up in Utah, everything was about BYU. He wanted to make it to BYU. Now that he is here, he enjoys it, he said.

    ?You represent the Church, you represent the university,? Taylor said. ?I don?t think there?s anything more special that being a Cougar.?

    Taylor said his family support has been the greatest help in contributing to his success. His mother and father travel everywhere the team plays. BYU assistant coach Ryan Roberts has helped him the most in a baseball sense, and has helped him to achieve his potential, he said.

    Taylor hopes to be drafted in the 2005 Major League Draft later this year.

    ?My ultimate goal is to get picked up by someone this next June, grind it out in the minor leagues until I eventually make it to the major leagues,? Taylor said.

    Taylor also said he has two pieces of advice for young players.

    ?One, don?t let others predict your future, don?t let other people tell you what you can and can?t do,? Taylor said. ?Second, just work your tail off, work as hard as you can. Put in the work and believe in yourself.?

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