Anthony Taylor's injury could clear way for freshmen

Texas State Football

An injury in the secondary could make way for some freshmen to get early playing time.

Texas State head coach Everett Withers revealed that sophomore cornerback Anthony Taylor, who was projected to be a starter this season, will be out for the foreseeable future with an ankle injury. Withers said there’s a possibility that Taylor misses the season opener against Houston Baptist.

Taylor started his first game last season against Appalachian State as a true freshman and remained in the rotation for the remainder of the year.

With Taylor’s potential absence, Texas State will be forced to look to its two true freshmen in Kordell Rodgers and Kieston Roach for depth.

Rodgers, who played quarterback for Lufkin High School, is already turning heads at his new position. Earlier this week, defensive coordinator Randall McCray said that Rodgers is making the transition look seamless and Withers echoed his sentiments Saturday afternoon.

“He’s the kind of guy you want to recruit to go play that position, you want to go recruit an athlete,” Withers said. “…He’s got that it, that stuff you’ve got to have at corner. Go get beat, alright go play the next play and go make a play. He’s got that about him.”

Rodgers’ fellow freshmen teammate, Kieston Roach, is also making impressions a week into camp with his footwork. Withers says the next step for him is the mental aspects in learning the defensive schemes.

“I feel like we’ll be able to gain some depth at that corner spot that we didn’t have a year ago,” Withers said.

Withers said sophomore cornerback Jordan Eastling is also nursing an ankle issue, but was still able to practice.

Although Texas State has upperclassmen at safety, only Quinn Tiggs and Stephan Johnson saw playing time last season. Because of that, Withers said both freshmen, Josh Newman and Preston Dimery, will likely see playing time as they progress through fall.

Other notable injuries and returns were junior nose tackle Sami Awad missing Saturday’s practice with an ankle, but the team expects him back Monday. Senior receivers Elijah King and Eric Luna were both back on the practice field.

A week into camp and Withers is liking what he’s seeing at quarterback from his four freshmen. Both Jaylen Gipson and Willie Jones III shared first-team duties throughout the week. Withers called Willie Jones III from Silsbee, “as talented as any quarterback, physically, that will be in our league.”

When it came to Gipson, the 54-year-old head coach commended his leadership qualities and said he just needs to work on his command of the offense is regards to play-calling.

Duncanville product Jaylin Nelson’s biggest concern is his height, according to Withers. There’s a chance Nelson will play other spots in addition to quarterback in a similar vein to L.G. Williams a year ago

“They all compete, they’re all encouraging each other,” Withers said. “I think they’re all smart kids so again, the best is yet to come with those guys. Patience is what I’m learning to have because we’re going to need it with those guys.”

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