First, I would like to thank Shak Taylor for giving me the time for an interview. We at RosterGuy congratulate him on earning a roster spot on the Indianapolis Colts 90-man roster. Make sure to follow him on Twitter at @LifeOfShakialll.
Measurables: 5'11", 175 Pounds
Kansas University Pro Day Numbers:
4.39 Second 40-Yard Dash
37" Vertical Jump, 10'4" Broad Jump
7.37-Second 3-Cone Drill
First question, I'd love to know about your process leading up to the draft. How much contact did you have with the Colts?
Shak Taylor: "Leading up to the draft the only teams that contacted me was 49ers, Jets, and Chiefs. I didn’t have any contact with the Colts. I think one of the scouts was at my pro day, but I’m not 100 percent sure."
Q: The call to go and try out in Indy must have been exciting, though. Could you give some insight into that?
ST: "To be honest, I was upset after the draft knowing my abilities and the type of year I had, that all 32 teams didn’t believe I was worthy of a pick. It was a feeling that you can’t describe, but the call was bitter sweet. I was just grateful for an opportunity to go and show them my capabilities and was grateful they believed in me enough to invite me to rookie camp."
Q: That chip on your shoulder must be a strong motivation to prove them wrong?
ST: "Not necessarily to prove them wrong, but to prove the league I belong. It’s nothing new to me though. All my life I’ve had to beat the odds and overcome adversity."
Q: Could you give Colts fans a little backstory? Who Is Shak Taylor? How'd you come to Indy?
ST: "Originally from Lakeland, Florida. Grew up down there then moved to Atlanta before high school. Grew up in a single parent home, dad was never in the picture so my mom had to step up and be both parents along with trying to be a role model. When I was young the docs told me I would never be able to play sports because I had severe asthma since I was 2. Ended up learning how to play basketball and football in the streets/neighborhood."
Q: When did you start playing sports/football?
ST: "Started playing sports 5th grade - 8th grade. Got on the wrong path and didn’t start back playing football 'til my junior year of high school. Actually got kicked out/moved out of my mom's house when I was 16. Moved in with my uncle Robert Nelson who was playing at Arizona State at the time.
With his hectic college schedule, I had to learn how to do everything on my own while living in a whole new environment. We was trying to make ends meet so I was sleeping on couches, floors, and staying with some of my high school teammates out there. He ended up being an UDFA and playing in the league for 5 years so once he left, I was still out there for my senior year living on my own with a roommate/former teammate.
Was never the most talented coming out of high school...0 stars, bad grades, nobody believed in me. I just worked my ass off until I started my senior year of high school. Caught the attention of college coaches, but they didn’t take a chance on me because I had bad grades."
Q: That's a very tough path you've walked. What offers did you have out of high school?
ST: "The 2 offers I had were Montana & South Dakota State. Both of them were 50% & 75% scholarships. I qualified in April then signed with SDSU. Played in every game and started some games at CB as a true freshman. We actually played Kansas my first collegiate game in 2015 and beat them.
Towards the end of the season I decided I wasn’t going to return and go (to junior college) instead. Played at Mesa Community College for a year then signed to Kansas. Started both years at Kansas and I'm now UDFA with Colts. That’s to make a long story short."
Q: What would you say helped make you into the player you are today?
ST: "Well, really learned how to grind and work for everything I got when I moved to Arizona. Credit to my uncle Robert Nelson. Being overlooked even then in high school created that chip on my shoulder 'til this day. JUCO also created a different type of hunger in me."
Q: We love interviewing some of my guys in JUCO. My first interview, @SuperStarRayy kinda taught me about that...how hungry those guys are. It's fascinating stuff. Some of the hardest working players out there.
ST: "Facts. Especially the JUCOs that don’t provide meals or housing like the one I was at."
Q: Who would you say are your biggest supporters of your football career?
ST: "Definitely my mom, uncle, and my trainer/mentor. That’s about it, those 3."
Q: How important is that support system? Having people in your corner?
ST: "It’s very important because sometimes things can get stressful, so that support system can be there to pick you back up mentally and keep you going. It’s also motivation because we’ve never had a lot financially, so every day is motivating me to put us in position to change that."
Q: So the Colts tryout...needless to say you did great, but could you tell me a bit about your time in the building, what the competition was like?
ST: "The experience was one to remember for sure. Just stepping into the facility and locker room was motivation each day. It was a tough 3 days! But I came in with a goal and left with it accomplished. It was tough."
Q: What are your impressions of the coaches, general manager Chris Ballard and his staff, any players you got to know well in your short time?
ST: "Good guys, man. Cool coaching staff who can relate to their players. Intense coaching that push you to be your best and get better each time you step on the field. Really didn’t get to know players that well. I was just focused on earning a spot on the roster."
Q: Understandable. Well, last question, man. What should Colts Nation expect to see from Shak Taylor in Indy? What are you bringing to the turf as a player?
ST: "Hard work and dedication. Day in and day out. Week in and week out. Confidence and speed."
Your go-to source for original Indianapolis Colts analysis, bringing you up to game-time updates on game-days. Join hosts Aaron Coffey, Alec Usleaman, Alex Griffin, Trace Vaughn & several others as they give their honest and informed thoughts and opinions on the Colts, the NFL and other popular topics.