From Pike to Pro: Taylor, Landrews NFL bound

South Pike alum Davion Taylor poses with his mother Stephanie Taylor after he was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2020 NFL draft. 

Just four years ago, Davion Taylor took off his green South Pike Eagles jersey following his final game in Magnolia. Fast forward to the present day, and Taylor will once again be putting on a green Eagles jersey — except this time it will be as a member of the NFL.

The Magnolia native was the 103rd overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, selected by the Philadelphia Eagles.

“I thought that I was going to go into a later round,” he said. “To go in the third round is truly a blessing.”

Taylor had to stay up late, just before 11 p.m. Friday, before he heard his name called, He was then mobbed by several members of his family with hugs and cheers.

Taylor’s time on the field for South Pike was limited. He and his family are Seventh-day Adventists and due to his Friday nights being devoted to worship, he didn’t get to play in many games. He did get to participate in a couple of contests that took place before sundown.

“The thing is, I didn’t get to play in an Eagles jersey that much,” he said. “(But) once an Eagle, always an Eagle. I’m not sure if I will be in Philadelphia for the rest of my career, but it feels good to be a part of another Eagles team.”

Taylor prepped at Coahoma Community College before spending the last two years at the University of Colorado, sharpening his skills even further as a hybrid linebacker-safety. Even though he can play both positions, he isn’t fully sure of the Eagles’ immediate plans for him.

“I spoke with defensive coordinator Coach (Jim) Schwartz and he said that they plan to use me just like I was used at Colorado as a nickel safety-linebacker, but he said that during my rookie season, they want to focus on one position. He didn’t say what that will be,” Taylor said.

He added that playing in the cold Philadelphia weather won’t bother him, as he has played in the Rocky Mountains over the past two years.

McComb’s Landrews to Giants

Former McComb Tiger and Mississippi State Bulldog Jaquarius Landrews would have much rather been drafted in the 2020 NFL draft this past weekend, but he is very thankful to get the opportunity to play in the NFL.

The defensive back signed an undrafted free agent deal Saturday evening with the New York Giants. And even though his name wasn’t called during the draft, he is keeping a positive frame of mind through the process.

“I was kind of upset with being a free agent and not being drafted, but all I really just needed was an opportunity, so I am going to take advantage of it,” he said. “I am really blessed to be where I am at right now.”

And Landrews will be taking this experience and using it as motivation to succeed in the league he dreamed of playing in since he was a kid growing up in Pike County.

“I have always been an underdog, so it should be nothing to me to go out and prove the world wrong now,” he said. “I have never been so excited in my life. It feels good. The dream is really becoming a reality.”

During his time in Starkville, Landrews has not only been preparing to play in the pros, but the scheme he is accustomed to will benefit him in New York.

“I think that I fit in pretty solid because I think that they play a nickel defense also,” he said. “I played a little nickel during my junior year at Mississippi State. “I think that I will be really comfortable, because defense is defense and if you are a ballplayer, you are a ballplayer and I think that I will fit right into it.”

Landrews is thankful to add his name to the list of Pike County athletes who have made it to the NFL in recent years, including Glover Quin, Darryl Pounds, Cooper Carlisle, Charvarius Ward, Bobby Felder, Cavellis Luckett and Taylor.

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