The Buff backer is gone, but it has been replaced by the Star position. It should be easy to remember because the Buff backer last year is the Star this year, and that’s Davion Taylor.
From Mike MacIntyre to Mel Tucker, from Jim Leavitt to D.J. Eliot to Tyson Summers, the Colorado Buffaloes have kept the hybrid linebacker-safety role on defense. The job dictates that the player be physical enough to make plays against the run, quick enough to defend running backs in space, and have important responsibilities in zone coverage. It’s basically the flex defender who has to do a little bit of everything.
The man playing the Star position could become a star himself. Davion Taylor is a superb athlete who until 2017 had never been a starter — not in his college career, but in his life. He’s the ultimate late bloomer who didn’t start playing football until he walked on at Coahoma CC in his native Mississippi. It took him a year of practice to go from electric athlete to the #7-rated JUCO prospect. The Buffs were lucky to get him, and it just so happens that it’s the perfect marriage between player and team.
In 2018, Taylor was the Buffs’ second or third best player on defense. Even though he was new to CU’s schemes, had never played top-tier football, and was still only in his third year ever of football, he flashed elite playmaking ability. Taylor has an innate feel for the game. His combination athleticism (best sprinter on the track team), size (6’2, 225) and feel means he can make whatever play is required of him, run or pass. He finished 2018 with 57 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and one sack, as well as the first touchdown of his life.
In 2019, Taylor will be relied upon to have an even larger impact. He’s another year into his football career and should see the game even better than before. He’s still learning so it’s foolish to put a ceiling on what he can become. What we do know is that’s he’s one of only four proven defenders, so whatever improvements he’s made will be crucial for CU. The Buffs look like they’re stars-and-scrubs this year, so those stars will be relied upon to hold up the defense. Taylor playing Star means he’s especially important, as his hybrid role means he has to be great in multiple areas.