Radtke: 13 college offers have Geneva WR's mom counting their blessings
Good Friday was especially good in the Taylor home.
Talyn Taylor, a sophomore wide receiver for Geneva and a 4-star recruit, received his 12th major college offer on Friday -- this one from two-time national champion Georgia.
While this time of year can be a pressure cooker for most student-athletes -- and their parents -- who intend to play college football, Talyn and his mom Venus, the head softball coach and senior woman's administrator at North Central College in Naperville, are having the time of their lives.
And why not? The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Talyn is hitting the summer season with 13 offers after Tennessee offered on Saturday, and certainly more to come.
"I really don't feel highly pressured about the process," Talyn told me this week, just after he received his 11th offer, that one from Miami (Florida).
"I feel blessed to be in this position and really just look forward to everything that comes with it."
Iowa offered Taylor first, and that was back in August. Since then, he's received offers from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Illinois, Purdue, Miami of Ohio, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Michigan, University of Miami in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee.
Taylor, who plays for Midwest Boom's Black National Team, just turned 16 years old.
"Every day I wake up I count my blessings," says Venus Taylor, a former Division I and professional softball player and longtime coach now in her second season as North Central's head coach.
"Being Talyn's mom has always been my greatest gift in life. I never look at any of this as a challenge as I know we are incredibly blessed and fortunate to be in this position."
Even though football is quite different from softball, and times have changed since Venus played at Western Illinois, her experience then and now as a Division I coach helps Talyn balance things.
"I really value my mom a lot and listen to what she has to say because she has been there and has a lot of knowledge about the process," said Talyn, who hopes to make a decision before his senior year.
"I love my mom and I appreciate everything she does for me."
While juggling her work responsibilities, Venus Taylor is able to lend her experience and knowledge to her son.
"I am extremely grateful for my own process as a Division I athlete and NCAA college coach as it has prepared me to guide Talyn through his process," said Venus, who is in the Western Illinois University Hall of Fame and who played seven years of professional softball.
"As parents, we invest in our kids and their futures and it is our role to love them, educate them, and set them up for success. Talyn is working hard to make his dreams come true and I am going to do everything I can on my end to support him and his dreams."
Talyn says things included in his dreams are helping Geneva to a state championship, and ultimately playing in the NFL. He has individual goals of 1,000-plus receiving yards, 20-plus touchdowns, and being a first-team all-stater.
Ranked the 17th highest recruit in the country by Rivals.com (2nd in Illinois and 5th at his position nationally), Talyn says some days are like a whirlwind.
"At times, my day can go really fast and it is often hard to find dates to go on visits especially during this time with my mom coaching and with traveling for Boom," said Talyn, who has an interest in sport management and business.
"I would say a couple of the biggest challenges would be knowing which camps and events to attend as well as responding to reporters and making sure that I am answering all of their questions. I am really thankful for all of the support and guidance I have received from everyone."
Talyn's mom figured early on her son had what it would take to be an elite athlete.
"I have always known Talyn was going to be special," Venus Taylor said. "He has great genes and when he was little, he was running around at a different speed than most and had great balance and motor skills. I would say I really began to notice Talyn had the ability to be a high-level recruit when he started attending college camps in eighth grade. He then hit a growth spurt and began to separate himself as a freshman at Geneva High School working and training with his high school coaches and team, training with the Boom National Team and training with Kofi Hughes, his wide receiver coach. In addition, Talyn was also picking up tips from college coaches at the camps and instilling it into his overall game.
"I would say everything has contributed to the person and player he is today and I know there are no limits to what he can do and I am so excited to have a front-row seat along the way."
A front-row seat that has also been educational for her.
"Although I played and currently coach a collegiate sport, I recognize that there are things I am still learning about football along the way," Venus said. "Football is a different magnitude than anything I experienced as a softball player. Nowadays there are so many more opportunities provided to college athletes and you really want to make sure that you have your steps in order and that you do your due diligence. I am truly grateful to everyone that has been supportive of us throughout this process including family, friends, coaches, teachers, and even co-workers.
"All day long his teachers are teaching him in the classroom and then his coaches take over at practices and games and teach him the game, and then the media takes over at events and our family and friends are there cheering him on at the games.
"I value everyone's role in this. In addition, I want to credit Talyn for his heart, hard work and the person he is. Talyn makes it easy to support him because he truly is a great person and we give all the glory to God."