TULSA — Tulsa East Central has had plenty of talent on its roster the past few years.
The Cardinals have had a handful of All-State players and had plenty of guys who were recruited to play Division I football.
Stanvon Taylor, the latest of those high-profile players to come through East Central, sees cautionary tales all around.
“I saw some of these guys that I thought were really good that didn't make it to the D-1 level,” Taylor said. “I just learned from their mistakes to make myself better.”
Taylor has made himself better, both on the field and off, becoming the Cardinals' highest profile recruit in some time.
He committed to Oklahoma in May and is No. 2 on The Oklahoman's Super 30 list of the state's top recruits.
The biggest lessons Taylor took away?
“Mainly grades,” he said. “Grades are a big deal and working hard and having a good attitude about things. A lot of kids, they don't work hard and their attitude messes them up.”
Taylor also gives first-year East Central coach Bobby Klinck an example to point to when he's motivating his players.
“It's one thing to have the talent,” Klinck said. “It's another thing to have the drive to get through certain circumstances to get to where he is right now.”
That was an important piece for Klinck to have when he arrived at East Central as the program's third coach in a matter of months.
Klinck knew about Taylor the football player but didn't know much about him away from that until he arrived.
“He's really just a coaches' dream,” Klinck said.
Taylor first started thinking about being a college athlete when he was in middle school.
Teachers started emphasizing to him that without the proper work in the classroom, his athletic abilities probably wouldn't help him much.
His mom, Tiffany Taylor, and grandmother, Doretha Taylor, reinforced that point.
“They stressed that without grades, you wouldn't be anything,” Taylor said. “My mom and grandma, they're really hard on grades. It's just the way I was raised and what I've learned from other people.”
Taylor's junior season was cut short last year after he suffered a broken ankle in East Central's opener against Stillwater. He'd returned an interception nearly 70 yards for a touchdown earlier in the game.
That's given Taylor drive to end his high school career on a positive note. Having his college decision behind him should help.
“I know where I'm going,” Taylor said. “I really don't have to worry about that. All I've got to focus on is my senior year. I've got it all figured out.”
Klinck, who was a football standout at Jenks who signed with Oklahoma, knows what the recruiting process is like.
Klinck didn't make his decision until well into his senior season.
“It's been a load off his mind,” Klinck said. “It can be a stressful thing to go through and to have it behind you is a big weight lifted.
“He won't even talk about college now, it's all about, ‘Hey, I want to win state.'”
The Oklahoman's Super 30
The Oklahoman's Super 30 feature series on the state's top football recruits continues with No. 2, Vian offensive lineman Rob Boyd. Here are the last three players we've written about in the series:
No. 5: Dalton Rodriguez, Tulsa Union
No. 4: Brayden Scott, Sequoyah-Tahlequah
No. 3: Rob Boyd, Vian
Up next: We've reached the end of the Super 30 recruiting rankings, and there isn't much mystery left, though the No. 1 player has been in the news lately with a pending school change. Read about him in Sunday's Oklahoman.
No. 2: Stanvon Taylor
School: Tulsa East Central
Recruited by: Committed to Oklahoma. Also has offers from Arizona State, Arkansas, Houston, Indiana, Kansas State, Ole Miss and Tulsa among others.