RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia Union finished 8-2 last season, yet still missed the NCAA Division II playoffs. 2019 finds the Panthers with experience and looking to take care of business with a CIAA championship.
One big piece of the puzzle is junior running back Tabyus Taylor. The Hopewell product led the country with 196 all-purpose yards per game in 2018 and earned preseason All-American honors coming into this year. Taylor was also fifth among NCAA Division II players with 21 rushing touchdowns, and ranked fourth with 154 rushing yards per game.
“A pleasure to coach,” Virginia Union head coach Dr. Alvin Parker said of Taylor. “One who wears his hardhat everyday, comes to work and he’s ready to play. He surprised a lot of people this past year, but he’s going to definitely live up to the bill this year.”
Taylor will also be looked upon as a leader. His success on the field will have younger players looking up to him as the Panthers look to claim the CIAA title.
“It’s a great feeling, just having young guys follow me,” said Taylor. “I gotta lead them in the right direction, not just on the field, but off the field. It’s a blessing.”
Virginia Union’s talent this year isn’t limited to Taylor. He headlines six starters returning on the offensive side of the ball, but the Panthers’ biggest strength may be their defense. Ten starters return from last year’s squad, giving Union all kinds of experience.
The Panthers kick off their 2019 season on September 7 at Hampton at 6:00pm.
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