Bishop Foley senior commits to play football for Naval Academy

By: Mark Vest | Madison - Park News | Published January 25, 2019

 Madison Heights Bishop Foley senior running back Kendel Taylor has committed to play football for the U.S. Naval Academy. Taylor finished his career with 3,495 yards rushing and 51 touchdowns, which are both school records.

Madison Heights Bishop Foley senior running back Kendel Taylor has committed to play football for the U.S. Naval Academy. Taylor finished his career with 3,495 yards rushing and 51 touchdowns, which are both school records.

Photo provided by Berney Gonzales

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MADISON HEIGHTS — After committing to play football for the U.S. Naval Academy, Madison Heights Bishop Foley senior running back Kendel Taylor recalled something Foley defensive coordinator and military veteran Dan Gough told him prior to a game.

“Before the national anthem started, he looks at me and says, ‘Kendel, this anthem is (going to) mean a lot more to you in the next couple years,’” Taylor said.

For Taylor, going to the Naval Academy is much more than just a random, fly-by-night decision. It is something the Southfield resident has been contemplating for years, and it just so happens that he also has the skill set to play football while he’s there.

Last season, Taylor had over 2,000 all-purpose yards and scored more than 30 touchdowns.

Among other sports that Taylor has also taken part in at Foley, he is an accomplished wrestler.

“I wanted to go to the Naval Academy first, no matter if I played football, wrestled; it really didn’t matter to me,” Taylor said. “But playing football was (an) added bonus to going to the Naval Academy. At the Naval Academy, it’s more than just football (for) four years. It’s actually going out and serving your country for four or five years, which is mandatory, or at least doing 20-plus. For me, I’m trying to do 20-plus. … I’m going there to get a great education and to prepare to become (an) officer.”

Foley football coach Brian Barnes discussed what he anticipates the Navy will be getting with Taylor.

“A kid that’s (going to) work hard, be very coachable,” Barnes said. “He’ll be able to adapt to his surroundings in a different environment, and he’s excited about the military and that lifestyle. And they’re (going to) get a quality kid that gives his best effort every day he’s out there.”

Foley wrestling coach Berney Gonzales called Taylor “one of the most fit athletes I’ve ever trained in my 34 years of coaching.”

“The Naval Academy is getting a good package in Kendel Taylor,” Gonzales said. “Anytime you get an athlete that is going on to the next level, it is very, very exciting.”

Taylor has had multiple family members serve in the military, including his brother, Kaylan, who is in the Marine Corps.

Taylor discussed how his parents reacted after learning of his opportunity.

“My dad started crying,” Taylor said. “My mom was excited, and I’m just ecstatic because this was my dream school since I was basically in the sixth grade. And to be able to play football here is even better. It was just a dream come true. … I love everything about the military — about how they sacrifice for the man next to (them), how they sacrifice for the country. For me, it’s just a great position to be in. … I love it.”

Taylor believes life lessons can be learned in any sport, but they’re most prevelant in football and wrestling — lessons he looks to apply to the next level.

“In football, (you) learn about teamwork, how to be a leader, how to talk to the coaches and then strategize, just like how you have to do in the military. You have to think; you have to make quick, rash decisions,” he said. “In wrestling it’s a lot like that, but it has (the) added bonus of having courage to step on the mat for wrestling.”

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