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Former Rattler Kevin Elliott talks about departure of FAMU coach Joe Taylor

Former Florida A&M wide receiver and current Jacksonville Jaguars rookie Kevin Elliott said was surprised to hear the news last week that his former coach Joe Taylor stepped down as head coach of the Rattlers.

Elliott wasn’t surprised by Taylor’s resignation, but at the timing, with just two games remaining and the Florida Classic onthe horizon.

“I was really shocked … I knew he was planning on stepping down, but I thought they’d at least let him finish the season,” said Elliott, who attended Orlando's Colonial High. “But he’s done now.”

FAMU (4-6) entered Saturday's annual Classic matchup with rival Bethune-Cookman with Earl Holmes as interim head coach. Holmes won his first game last week as FAMU defeated North Carolina Central 22-21. 

Elliott said he wasn’t sure what was behind Taylor’s decision not to finish the season, but said he reminded his younger brother Diante Harrison, who is a redshirt freshman at FAMU, that “things happen for a reason." Harrison also attended Colonial High.

“I was just telling him the other day how the same thing happened to me my redshirt freshman season,” Elliott said.

Elliott was recruited to FAMU by the staff of former Rattlers’ head coach Ruben Carter.

“Yeah, they came in and swept away the whole staff and Coach Taylor came in,” Elliott said.  “Coach Taylor is a good guy and I will still be in contact with him.

“He meant a lot to me and the program. He definitely changed it around. It’s not all about football. It’s about how you carry yourself off the field, as well, as a man. That’s something I could tell that was a big difference after Coach Taylor came in.”

Elliott credits a lot of his maturity and drive to get to the level where he is today to Taylor.

“He was always hard on me and he definitely molded me.” Elliott said. “He helped me in that transition from high school to college, for sure.”

B-CU ruined Holmes first Classic game as head coach with a 21-16 win, and now Holmes will wait to learn his fate during the offseason as FAMU looks to replace Taylor.

Taylor posted a 35-19 record at Florida A&M in five seasons. He previously coached at a variety of schools, including Hampton, Virginia Union and Howard. Taylor finished his career with a 233-96-4 record, placing him third among historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) coaches in career wins.

Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting and now on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.

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