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Dutch Fork product named Gatorade Player of the Year

Will Taylor has received the state's top individual honor for high school baseball.

Will Taylor is currently on the Clemson campus and next month, it's expected he will hear his name called in the first round of baseball's amateur draft. 

As he weighs whether to stay at Clemson and play football and baseball or begin his professional career on the diamond, Taylor has received the state's top individual honor.

The former Dutch Fork outfielder has been named the 2020-21 Gatorade South Carolina Baseball Player of the Year. 

He is now a finalist for the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year award which will be announced in July.

The 6-foot, 170-pound Taylor posted a .450 batting average with seven home runs this past season at Dutch Fork. He also added 34 runs scored and 33 RBI as he helped the Silver Foxes earn an 18-6 record and a berth in the Class 5A district final. 

The nation’s No. 12 draft prospect as ranked by Baseball America, Taylor also stole 21 bases and walked 25 five times to compile an onbase percentage of .586 and an OPS of 1.455.

The Gatorade award not only recognizes athletic excellence, but it also seeks those players who exhibit outstanding character on and off the field along with high academic success.

In the classroom, Taylor maintained a 3.49 grade point average at Dutch Fork. A member of his school’s Key Club, Taylor has volunteered locally at a foster care facility and a food bank in addition to donating his time as a youth wrestling coach.  

“Will Taylor has one of the greatest work ethics of any player I’ve ever coached,” said Dutch Fork High head coach Casey Waites. 

“He has MLB power and speed. He is all business when he crosses the lines to play, and his baseball knowledge is at a very high level.”   

Taylor is the first Gatorade South Carolina Baseball Player of the Year to be chosen from Dutch Fork High School and the first in the Midlands since 2013 when Lexington's Nick Ciuffo won the award.  

Taylor is a two-sport standout who transferred to Dutch Fork from Ben Lippen. In his one and only fall in the Kelly Green, Taylor was the starting quarterback for Dutch Fork and he helped lead that team to the 2020 Class 5A state championship. If he remains on campus, Taylor would initially start at receiver but head coach Dabo Swinney has said they would make sure to train him at quarterback.

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