Davion Taylor is known for his speed but the Eagles linebacker might walk slowly on Sunday morning.
He’ll want to take it all in.
As the Eagles face the Broncos in Denver, it will be the realization of a dream that started over 3 years ago. Empower Field at Mile High is where Taylor’s Division I journey began.
“I remember telling myself that one day I would be playing here (again),” Taylor said. “And now actually playing here in an NFL game, I’m actually going to see my dreams coming true.”
Taylor, 23, got a late start in football because of his family’s religious believes — his mother was a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, which didn’t allow him to play high school football on Friday nights. Because of that, his football career really began at Coahoma Community College.
So when the University of Colorado became the first Power Five school to offer him, he committed on the spot. And his two-year journey with the Buffs began on Aug. 31, 2018 — a 45-13 win over Colorado State on the same field he’ll play on this Sunday.
Before the game, Taylor is going to walk the same route he did his junior year of college, when he told himself he was going to play there again as a professional.
He already has the route planned out.
“As soon as I come out the tunnel, walk all the way around the field, head all the way around, come back to the place and really just look at the stadium, look at the stands and just embrace it all, just take it all in,” Taylor said. “And then just get ready to play.”
This season, his second in the NFL, the 2020 third-round pick has seen his playing time increase and he’s been a starter now for the last four games.
Taylor said that the player he was as a junior in college wouldn’t even be recognizable to him today.
But it was his two years in Boulder, Colorado, that really shaped him as a football player and as a man. It turned him from a junior college prospect into a third-round pick and helped him push his boundaries as a kid from Mississippi taking on a completely new environment.
That new environment included high altitude and … winter.
“First winter? It was very cold,” Taylor said. “It got to the point where I started to like the snow and then it got to the point where I’m like, ‘Alright, I’m tired of it.’ It was very different for me coming from Mississippi, seeing all the snow all the time and seeing it get to the negative degrees.
“Step outside and your lips start to freeze up and all that. It was a big change but as the months went on, I started to get used to it. I started to get tired of the snow but overall I felt like it was pretty good. Once I got used to it, it wasn’t that bad.”
Taylor still spends time in Colorado, a place he considers a second home. He continues to train there in the offseason because he feels like the high altitude gives him an advantage. And he just likes the landscape, the mountains, the hiking.
In addition to the area, his two years with the Colorado football team were formative.
While Taylor put in a ton of extra work in Boulder, he his football education hit a higher gear there. It’s where he learned X’s and O’s, it’s where he learned how to be physical and it’s where he began to harness his incredible and raw athletic gifts.
A year and a half into his NFL career, Taylor is still somewhat raw, but he feels like he’s improving every week.
He still has a long way to go, but Sunday before the game will give him a chance to appreciate how far he’s come.
“I feel like it’s really going to be a dream come true,” he said.
Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast: