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New tight end wants to be known as more than a blocker

Khameron Taylor’s numbers at South Alabama suggest is isn’t much of a receiver. Indiana thinks otherwise.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 15 Texas State at South Alabama Photo by Bobby McDuffie/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last season at South Alabama, Khameron Taylor was targeted only three times across the nine games he played. This fall, in what will be his only season at Indiana, the graduate transfer tight end expects to see the ball a bit more often.

Taylor isn’t the only person at IU thinking along those lines. New tight ends coach Kevin Wright also believes the latest addition to his position group has the tools to become a more complete player inside of Indiana’s offense. No, Taylor’s profile doesn’t suggest that he’s much of a receiver.

But IU thinks otherwise.

“What we’ve found in Kham was a guy that had predominantly been a blocker in the offense he was in, and also who is a really good athlete who has the potential, I think, to catch the football,” Wright said. “I told him he’s probably not going to block power very much like he did at his previous school. He’s going to have to block, don’t get me wrong. I think you’ll see some of the athleticism that when you watch the tape you see.”

Taylor, too, is eager to show off a new side to his game. In three seasons at South Alabama, he recorded only seven receptions for 85 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown catch in the 2019 season opener at Nebraska.

He built his reputation as a blocker, filling a need on the Jaguars’ roster. But part of what drew him to Bloomington was the IU coaching staff, and their vision for how he might grow under their watch.

“I bring toughness and physicality,” Taylor said. “I’m prideful of my physicality and blocking. At South, I kind of had a role of being a blocker in our offense so I take pride in it. I just wanted to win, so it was like I’m going to give it my all for my teammates and stuff like that. I think I’m really good in the passing game. I think I’ll get an opportunity to show it in this offense. Like coach said, I was kind of a hybrid.”

The 6-foot-4 Florida native is listed at 270 pounds, but he’s also comfortable playing with a little less bulk. 255 pounds, Taylor says, is where he feels fastest.

Taylor will add depth to a tight ends group that has some intriguing talent. Beyond All-Big Ten honoree Peyton Hendershot, whose status for the season remains unclear after his offseason arrest, Wright likes what he saw from junior Matt Bjorson during IU’s abbreviated spring practice season, and he’s excited to see more from redshirt sophomore T.J. Ivy and redshirt freshman Gary Cooper once fall camp opens.

Wright is also eager to simply meet Taylor outside of a teleconference setting. Because of the pandemic, Taylor couldn’t visit any schools. So he had to rely on search engines, along with the questions he posed virtually to Wright and head coach Tom Allen to figure out if IU would be a good fit. Taylor has spent the past few weeks watching YouTube clips of IU games while picturing how he might fit in the Hoosiers’ offense once he’s finally allowed to join his new program in person.

“He’s been very responsible just in regards to the things we’ve asked him to do,” Wright said. “He had a lot of schoolwork he had to do to finish up just so he could get to IU, which is a complement to who he is, the type of kid that we’re getting. So, that’s all good things. I’m excited to meet him in person. He’s great virtually but I’m excited to meet him in person. I think he’ll fit really well into the room.”