WATCH: Former Cocoa Tiger, Jacksonville Jaguars Jawaan Taylor Hosts Drive-Thru Backpack Giveaway
By Space Coast Daily // July 19, 2020
Taylor was inducted into the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame as part of its 2020 class
ABOVE VIDEO: Former Cocoa Tiger, Current Jacksonville Jaguar Jawaan Taylor giving back to the community at Viera Regional Park.
BREVARD COUNTY • VIERA, FLORIDA – Former Cocoa Tiger, Florida Gator and current Jacksonville Jaguar offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor, hosted a Drive-Thru Backpack Giveaway on Saturday at Viera Regional Community Center.
The giveaway was geared towards children ages 6-12 as the event helped local families get ready for the return to school by handing out new backpacks to Brevard County kids.
Due to COVID-19, organizers were creative by having those seeking a backpack pull up to the drop off spot with vehicles windows up and pop their trunks for distribution, where Jawaan and/or a volunteer would place the backpack in the vehicle to adhere to social distancing guidelines from coronavirus.
Taylor was inducted into the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame as part of its 2020 class.
Taylor was also joined in the class by a pair of former Cocoa High teammates in New Orleans Saints safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Jamel Dean.
This past season, the Cocoa native played every snap last year for Jacksonville, according to NFL.com.
“It’s a blessing. Us three all playing together in Little League,” Taylor said, referring to him playing in the NFL with Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Jamel Dean .
“We all started out in flag football together. Me and Chauncey have been playing football together every year since we were four years old, so we were on the same team all through little league, all through high school, all through college. That was a great experience to see all our dreams fulfilled because you know from day 1 we already knew our dreams and aspirations were to play in the NFL.”
Taylor credits some of his success to former head coach at Cocoa High School, John Wilkinson, who was inducted in the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.
“He was a father figure,” Taylor said.
It was Wilkinson, Taylor says, along with his family that helped him during a career-altering summer following his junior season in which he lost an astonishing 52 pounds, making him more attractive to prospective schools.
“I started getting really good offers then,” said Taylor, who added that the “light switch really switched on” for him that summer.
Prior to signing to play college football at the University of Florida, Taylor had committed to the University of Miami, but Taylor says he ended up going to Florida after Miami fired former head coach Al Golden and his staff.
“When I was getting ready to commit somewhere, I wanted to make sure it was a place that felt like home as well,” Taylor said.
Despite overcoming some adversity in the form of having different coaches throughout his time at the school and a torn meniscus that he says he suffered prior to the start of his sophomore season, Taylor excelled at the school.
In particular, Taylor says he knew he was ready for the next level at the end of his junior season.
“Right towards the end of the last quarter of the season, that’s what I really wanted to do,” said Taylor, regarding his decision to forego his senior season and declare for the NFL Draft.
And sure enough, Taylor got the opportunity to see his dream become a reality on April 26, 2019, when he was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the 35th overall pick in the draft.
“It was the best experience of a lifetime,” said Taylor.
In his rookie season, Taylor started the first game and had such a successful season in 2019 that he was named to the Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie Team.
“I played 1,000 snaps, started every game, I owe a lot of that credit to just how I prepared,” Taylor said.
In recognition of his incredible success at the high school, college and professional levels, Space Coast Daily is proud to announce Taylor as an inductee into the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame.
Recently, Taylor made national news off the field after a viral video showed him reeling in a 400-pound ‘Goliath’ Grouper near Jupiter, Florida, with his agent Drew Rosenhaus cheering him on.
Taylor called the catch a “Fish of a Lifetime”.
Fish of a Lifetime! 400 Pound Goliath Grouper😂🤟🏽 pic.twitter.com/CrUCEeyUB0
— Jawaan M. Taylor ♛ (@jawaan_taylor74) July 2, 2020
ABOVE VIDEO: How big was the fish NFL tackle Jawaan Taylor caught last week? Maybe even big enough to join Taylor on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ offensive line.
ABOVE VIDEO: Jacksonville Jaguars’ offensive lineman Jawaan Taylor, former Cocoa Tigers Football and Florida Gators player, sat down with Space Coast Daily’s Juan Rodriguez to discuss his journey to the NFL, and offer his advice to young, aspiring athletes in Brevard County.
2020 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME: Jacksonville Jaguars Offensive Lineman Jawaan Taylor is Ironman in NFL.
FOR INFORMATION about the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame, or to make a nomination, e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com or call 321-615-8111.
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE MEMBERS OF THE SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME
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