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NFL Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Shaka Taylor, RB, Nebraska Wesleyan University

2017 Accolades & Statistics

  • 2017 All-Iowa Conference Football First Team.
  • 216 carries – 1,077 yards – 4.99 YPC – 5 TDs.
  • 57 rec – 607 yards – 10.65 YPR – 6 TDs.

What is your name?

  • Shaka King Taylor.

Where do you play College Football?

  • Nebraska Wesleyan University.

What position do you play?

  • Running Back.

What is your height/weight?

  • 5’11” 215 lbs.

Did you play any other sports growing up? If so, what were they?

  • I played basketball from 3rd grade up to my first two years at NWU. Baseball from 3rd grade till about 7th. I also competed in track for two years in high school.

Who is the toughest player you have competed against in College?

  • I would have to say toughest ones I played against would have to be Michael Joseph and LeDevin Smith from the University of Dubuque and Drew Heitland from Coe College.

Are you listening to music before a game? If so, what?

  • Yes, before I leave the locker room for the last time I will listen to, Get fired Up – Paris, Do Ya Thang – Ice Cube and Can’t Be Touched – Roy Jones Jr.

Do you have any superstitions before a game? If so, what are they?

  • I always need to put my sleeve on before my wristbands.

Who is your role model & why?

  • My dad for sure. I wouldn’t be in the situation I am today without him. He coaches and has coached Semi Pro football ever since I was born, and it has allowed me to grow into the football player I am now because of all the guys I got to watch play for him. I was able to learn things about plays and schemes before most kids are able to comprehend all of that information at a young age because my dad and I were so absorbed into that life.

You are a Sports Management major. What made you pursue that subject?

  • I originally wanted to major in Math, but after my first year I realized that I wanted to be involved with sports after college and I figured this major would help me out if I end up helping in the football world at some level after my time in college is over.

While in College, what has been your favorite & least favorite class?

  • Kind of weird but my favorite class had to have been Cultural Geography. Opitz (teacher) just made it really easy to keep coming to class because of her energy and activities we did. There was really not a dull moment that whole semester. My least favorite would definitely have to be my US Government and Politics class I took this past year. Just never been really into politics and wasn’t very exciting to me.

Outside of Football, what has been your favorite experience while in College?

  • Definitely the friendships you make. I made some good friends outside of the sport but you really bond with your teammates and there are some guys that I’m proud to call my brothers and I feel like they would do the same. Those are the guys you spend basically everyday with and it becomes a better experience when you bond outside of football.

Growing up, who was your favorite NFL Team & NFL player, & why?

  • Dallas Cowboys are my team. From day one my dad had me cheering for them and I have baby pictures in Cowboy clothes and a football. I apparently went as a Cowboy football player for a couple straight years for Halloween when i was real young. NFL player would have to be LaDainian Tomlinson, I just really liked his style of play and watching him run the ball. I had a jersey of his throughout middle school and would pretend to be like him in the backyard with friends.

If you could be in any movie of your choice, what would it be & what character would you play? 

  • Probably would have to go with ‘The Program’. I would probably play Darnell Jefferson who is the running back in that movie. Really big fan of all sports movies.

If you could have dinner with three people, dead or alive, who are they? 

  1. MLK.
  2. Emmitt Smith.
  3. Allen Iverson.

If you could meet any historical figure, who would you choose & why?

  • Martin Luther King Jr. for sure. My middle name is after him and I would love to hear some of his speeches in person and talk to him about his struggles and what he had to go through.

Who is your favorite superhero & why?

  • Probably the Black Panther, but I also haven’t seen a lot of superhero movies either. I like what the Black Panther is portrayed to be about though.

What is your definition of hard work?

  • Doing things that are to the best of your ability. If you aren’t going to do that it’s not worth any effort you put in then.

What is the most unexpected lesson you learned while in College?

  • You need to focus on your grades early because one slip up in a class and it takes forever to raise your GPA back up.

What is something you wish you could go back & tell yourself as a High School Freshman?

  • Take school and grades more seriously in the beginning as well as hit the weights harder earlier.

Why do you wear #34?

  • My dad has a football player by the name of Ray Wilson who has played for him ever since i can remember watching the team play. If you ask him and my dad you can see that my playing style, my mannerisms, and just my movements are really similar to him. He is basically my older brother to me and he has always worn #34. SO when i came to NWU and I didn’t get my high school jersey, I chose #34.

What is the best part of your hometown, Norfolk, NE?

  • Pretty cheap movie prices, a bowling alley and a couple mini golf sites. However i spend most of my time in town playing basketball with the old guys at the YMCA.

Who do you choose, Jordan or LeBron?

  • Jordan. I believe it’s too hard to compare the two when they played in different eras.

Are you a PS4 or Xbox One guy? What games are you playing right now?

  • Xbox One all the way. I play a lot of NBA 2K/Madden and I still play NCAA Football 14 on 360.

What has been your most memorable moment as a student-athlete?

  • My most memorable moment so far would probably have to be the second to last game we had this past year. We played Simpson College and I was a little over 200 yards away from reaching 1000 and one of my buddies bet me a steak dinner (which he has yet to pay up) that I wouldn’t hit 1K this game. I ended up getting over 250 on the ground and over 100 receiving. It was the second best game total for rushing yards in school history. After one of the touchdowns that I scored Bryce Darner, a receiver who made the bet, came up to me, gave me a shove and yelled “Guess I owe you one after all!”.

If you could have three wishes granted, what would they be?

  1. To be able to give my family whatever they needed.
  2. To be able to do what i love (sports) for the rest of my life.
  3. Then for an infinite amount of wishes obviously.

What is your hidden talent?

  • Being able to memorize entire playbooks.

If there is a book written about Shaka Taylor, what is the title?

  • “Chewing Glass and Spitting Nails.”

What are three things on your “Bucket List?”

  1. Play in the NFL.
  2. Start a training program for all kids in all sports.
  3. Watch a professional sports game in person.

Are you binge watching anything on Netflix or Hulu right now?

  • The Office on repeat.

If you had one free hour each day, how would you choose to use it?

  • Helping younger kids develop their skills.

If you could run over any NFL LB, past or present, who would it be & why?

  • If I had to pick one I would have to choose Ray Lewis. It would be amazing to say you ran over a legend like him but I would like it if he never knew that. I don’t need that to actually be set up!

What are the goals for 2018, both individually & for the Nebraska Wesleyan football team?

  • Individually: I have a lot of personal goals but most of them are just statistical based and I can only control what I can control. Records and accolades would be nice and amazing to have but most importantly I want to work on being a better leader for my team and being someone that a player could turn to and know that I have his back and he has mine.
  • Team: I think that winning our conference is always at the top of our goals. We want to become a better close knit team and this summer has been great so far of us becoming closer. Making the playoffs would be amazing and just having a better year in general. NWU hasn’t had a winning in at least four years, so we want to change that at least.

If you could give NFL scouts three words to describe the type of man they are getting in Shaka Taylor, what would they be?

  1. Studious.
  2. Dedicated.
  3. Passionate.
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