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The Walk-on QB Who May be Spencer Sanders’ Backup in 2020

Yes, he grew up as a Longhorns fan.



When Spencer Sanders came down injured last season with a thumb ailment, graduate transfer Dru Brown was thrust into the spotlight as OSU’s replacement quarterback. If Sanders were to miss time in 2020, his replacement may be a walk-on.

Shaun Taylor joined the OSU football program in 2018 with little fanfare out of All Saints Episcopal. A 5-11, 211 pound athlete, he garnered little attention as a recruit, deciding in the end that the atmosphere at OSU — as a walk-on — suited him best.

“I had visited a few other schools, but when I left Oklahoma State I just had a feeling that it’s where I belonged,” Taylor told the Star-Telegram in 2018. “I loved the college town feel and I’m really ready to get to Stillwater.”

He later added, “I have always been a big Texas Longhorn fan and enjoyed the atmosphere of Big 12 football.”

Texas fandom aside, Taylor in the years since his arrival has curried favor among the coaching staff and worked his way up the depth chart in the process. Had Dru Brown gone down last season with an injury, it would have been Taylor, not scholarship quarterback Brendon Costello, who would have been the replacement. He practiced well, per a source, and quickly soaking up some of the more complex concepts Sean Gleeson used in his offense helped him in an inexperienced QB room.

Taylor was a star in high school. As a senior he threw for 4,200 yards and 60 (!) touchdowns, completing 72 percent of his 388 pass attempts. All Saints went 11-1 and advanced to the TAPPS semifinals, and yet he was named only as an honorable mention All-Stater.

At OSU, he’s completed all four of his pass attempts for 21 total yards.

He faces an uphill challenge to hold on to the backup gig he ended the season with. California product Shane Illingworth, a 6-foot-7 quarterback with a big arm, was the crown jewel of OSU’s 2020 recruiting class. And junior college transfer Ethan Bullock has experience and a strong arm on his side.

But Taylor has exceeded expectations thus far at All Saints and at OSU in his short stint. And with the benefit of experience within the program and knowledge of the system, he could be one of the most valuable backups in the program you’ve never heard of.

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