By Jalisa Bannerman
Trae Taylor and his father, JR Taylor, spend their Sundays during the off-season traveling over five hours back and forth to practice. Attending practice with Sound Mind Sound Body comes with traveling a considerable distance from the Taylor family, who make their trip from Illinois each week. The 6-foot-2, 173-pounder uses his travel time to focus on his studies and review his practice film, searching for areas of improvement.
Taylor has created a habit of using his time wisely through talks of time management and pressing toward high academic standards. Per Taylor, “Time management is one of the biggest factors with athletes, and without your grades, you can’t go anywhere,” are two things Coach Curtis Blackwell preaches to the team.
The three-year veteran is going into his fourth year with SMSB and has embodied what it means to leave a lasting impression. Taylor has been groomed to be unafraid on and off the field and to raise his hand to speak in any setting.
“SMSB has helped me with the ability to go and talk to coaches and have a full conversation, especially for the first time. I’ve learned how to introduce myself and what I need to know before going on college visits. I know what I need to get into college, and how to market myself. I am growing my connections with people in Illinois and Detroit.”
He received his first offer from Maryland last December while still in the 8th grade. Taylor, who has ten offers in total, was Michigan’s first 2027 QB offer, and other D-1 schools have offered Taylor, including Miami and Colorado.
Taylor is no stranger to the college scene with the help of the SMSB program’s college exposures. “With college tours, you get to go to schools you’ve never been to and meet coaches you’ve never seen. It gets us out of the bubble that we’re in, in the Midwest.”
JR Taylor, father of Trae, shared, “We originally picked SMSB for 7v7 reasons, but as we got involved in the program more and saw what they were about and learned about the kids more, it became less about the 7v7. It’s taking the SAT, community service, how to go on campuses and present ourselves to the coaches that makes it more about how they grow these young men into men going off to college.”
“This is his fourth year in the program, and I see the confidence that he has speaking to coaches. I’m always shocked about when he goes away to these schools and how he positions himself to be along with the coaches and talks with them for however long he needs to. Coach Blackwell always preaches about how to separate yourself from all these five stars in the room. He does that well.”
“We are grateful for all of the things Max Ex does, between Coach Buck in Tennessee and Coach Blackwell in Michigan. I know that he is always around someone supporting the kind of athlete he is. He went into his first year not playing a down and had eight offers from D1 schools already. The recruiting aspect of it wouldn’t be where he is in his recruiting aspect if it wasn’t for MaxEx, period. He wouldn’t be known as well as he is right now.”
“I always believe the only way you can get better is by being around people who are just as good as you. When we are in Michigan and around the MaxEx family, everybody on that field that he’s with can play. There is not one person on the field who can not compete, and that makes him better skill-wise on the field. We do a lot of work at home, but where he thrives is standing next to Dante Moore, CJ Carr, Isaiah Marshall, and Bryce Underwood. He’s with the top quarterbacks in the country, and he has to work hard, stand out and compete with these guys.”
About Sound Mind Sound Body Youth Association:
Sound Mind Sound Body (SMSB) is a proven platform that ensures students matriculate to post-secondary education by successfully prioritizing and balancing a unique curriculum that combines life skills, athleticism, and academics. STUDENT + ATHLETE + SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY + SOUND DECISION MAKING = SUCCESS.
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