The beginning of Will Taylor’s baseball career as a Clemson Tiger has been filled with adversity.
The two-sport star, who is also a member of the Tigers’ football team, tore an ACL during Clemson’s 2021 season, which forced him to miss most of his first collegiate baseball season. Taylor did manage to play in the final 13 games last season, but was never able to fully settle in.
Now, heading into his second season, Taylor is fully healthy and doesn’t even wear a brace on the knee any longer. He’s feeling the best he has felt in quite some time and itching to get back on the field.
“Feeling great, probably the best I’ve felt this week, probably in about a year and a half,” Taylor said. “Glad to be out here with my brothers and excited to get going.”
Taylor credited his coaches and teammates for helping him navigate through all of the adversity.
“Just my teammates and these coaches and trainers and everybody that just helped me along the way,” Taylor said. “They’ve really been pushing me and encouraging me so it’s been really very helpful to me. Just keep my head down and keep running and give all the credit to them because they deserve it.”
The Tigers also begin the 2023 season with a new head coach, as Erik Bakich takes over the program after a successful stint at Michigan. That included a trip to the College World Series in 2019 that saw the Wolverines finish as the runner up to Vanderbilt.
Taylor noted that Bakich has done a tremendous job of bringing the players together as a team, and thinks that should translate into results on the field.
“He’s done a great job, along with the rest of the coaching staff,” Taylor said. “They’ve really come in and made us feel right at home since day one. And they brought us together as a team, and that’s the biggest thing, especially in baseball. Playing together. And we’re gonna have a great year because of that.”
After having to watch Opening Day from the dugout a season ago, Taylor is anxious to be on the field for the Tigers’ season opener next Friday against Binghamton.
“I’m excited,” Taylor said. “I was over in the dugout the first 50 or so games. I remember Opening Day last year and my blood was just flowing.”
“We’re here playing at Clemson University, one of the biggest stages in the country. So just excited to be out here. We have the best fans in the country and can’t wait.”
Clemson is set to open the season on February 17, as the Tigers will host Binghamton in the first of a three game series. First pitch at Doug Kingsmore Stadium is set for 4 p.m.
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