After spending the past two seasons as Denison's record-setting quarterback, Jordan Taylor is going back to catching passes.
The senior verbally committed to play for Rice University on an official visit over the weekend and will be making a position switch to receiver for the Owls.
"To me, receiver's a lot easier but quarterback's more fun," Taylor said. "It'll probably take me awhile to get back in the receiver groove. As long as I get a chance to play, it doesn't matter."
Verbal commitments are non-binding. Taylor can sign his national letter of intent on Feb. 3. He chose the Owls over Utah and North Texas, although UNT head coach Todd Dodge made an in-home visit on Monday night and Taylor might visit the school this weekend.
"Rice has been there from the beginning. That was a big factor," Taylor said. "They didn't just jump in at the end. I was their number one plan all along."
Taylor started at receiver as a sophomore and was an honorable mention all-state selection with 29 catches for 575 yards and 11 touchdowns. The touchdowns are the fourth-most in school history. Taylor is just the most recent Jacket signal-caller to make this move -- Stanley Morrison started at quarterback for two seasons but is now a receiver for Utah State.
This past season Taylor, who was the District 9-4A MVP, set single-season school records by completing 153-of-233 passes for 2,463 yards and 27 touchdowns despite missing the season-opener as Denison reached the state semifinals for the first time since 1997 before losing to eventual state champion Aledo and finishing with a 13-2 record. He also ran for 1,362 yards and 23 touchdowns on 169 carries in directing an offense that set program records for most yards with 7,174 and points in a season at 675.
Last year in nine games, Taylor had 910 yards and 10 touchdowns passing and 903 yards and 12 touchdowns rushing.
He graduates as Denison's all-time leader in completions (253), passing yards (3,729) and touchdowns (40) as well as the single-game holder for passing yards (298) and touchdowns (four).
Rice went 2-10 this past season, one year after going 10-3 and winning the Texas Bowl -- the program's first bowl victory since 1954. Among the non-conference games next season include at game at the University of North Texas.
Two of the Owls' top three receivers graduated and the top returning two will be seniors next year. So far Taylor and Lake Travis' Andy Erickson are the only receivers in the Class of 2010 to commit to Rice.
This is the second straight season an area player has signed with the Owls. Pottsboro's Cody Bauer will be a sophomore defensive lineman next season.
Taylor, who said he would also try to walk-on to the baseball team at Rice, is the fourth Yellow Jacket to commit to a Division I program. Jimmay Mundine and Jaqwaylin Arps have pledged to play for Kansas while D.J. Jones chose Texas A&M earlier this month.
Taylor's older brother, Ryan, has one year left as an offensive lineman at UCLA and went through the recruiting process last year out of junior college.
"He always talked to me about it and he just told me to do whatever was best for me," Taylor said. "Not just for football but for school too since I'm going to be there for four or five years."
Jason Della Rosa, Sports Editor, Sherman Herald Democrat