Grand Junction Central's Kole Taylor found a path to sign with LSU football

(Photo courtesy of Central High School)

Kole Taylor can't help but smile when he sees what's happening in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. First, the LSU Tigers were named the No. 1 team in the final College Football Playoff rankings.

Then, quarterback Joe Burrow claimed the 2019 Heisman Trophy, a feat once unfathomable for a program known more for a hard-nosed running attack.

After putting ink to paper on Wednesday, Taylor officially becomes a part of all that as he will indeed head south to join the LSU football program and try to keep it as the powerhouse that it became this year.

"They had really recruited blocking tight ends since their scheme was ground-heavy," Taylor said. "This year, they got a new passing game coordinator and he opened up that offense a lot. What they saw in me was that I'm a passing-catching tight end."

To find Taylor, LSU had to navigate over Vail Pass and through Glenwood Canyon to get to the western edge of the state. He's another shining example that teams in search of talent can find it regardless of the hills they have to climb or the windy roads they have to navigate.

"If you have that talent you will be found," Taylor said. "But you also have to put yourself out there."

That's not always the easiest thing to do when living in Grand Junction. But Taylor found a way because playing for a team like LSU is not something even the top Colorado recruits always get the chance to do.

"I worked up at Six-Zero with Matt McChesney," he said. "He has a lot of connections and he was able to communicate to these coaches."

That work in Denver paid off last February when the Tigers first reached out to Taylor. At first, they wanted to read his interest in them and also make sure he was the kind of athlete and kid that they could bring into their program.

It started out with just a few text messages and it wasn't long after the initial conversations started that an offer was thrown out there.

"Feb. 25th they offered me," Taylor said. "We had started communicating about a week before."

Taylor took a trip down to Baton Rouge for the LSU spring game. The only other spring game he attended was at the University of Colorado.

But LSU had his attention from the very start.

"Some of their legends were there," Taylor said. "Tyrann Mathieu was there, Leonard Fournette was there and it was great that those alumni care to come back."

His official visit came at the beginning of the summer. That visit amplified his desire to be a part of something that he truly believed is special.

With his signing becoming official on Wednesday, he's set to take the next step in football career. And while he wants to enjoy the day, he knows the work is far from over. In fact, it's only just begun.

"I'm really excited to do this and get things rolling," Taylor said. "I figure it will hit me once I'm there in Baton Rouge. The first week is going to be crazy. It'll be a big transition."

But it's a transition that a pass-catching tight end from Grand Junction is looking forward to making.

(Photo courtesy of Central High School)