The legend of Devin Taylor will stick to your ribs

dlauderdale@islandpacket.comNovember 22, 2012 

Larry Taylor poses by a photo of his son, University of South Carolina defensive end Devin Taylor, hanging at his LT’s restaurant on Lady’s Island.

Things were oddly quiet at LT's on Wednesday.

Diners at the Lady's Island meat-and-three were scarfing down owner Larry Taylor's famous fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, black-eyed peas, corn and biscuits.

Taylor didn't want to say much about Saturday's football grudge match between the Carolina Gamecocks and the Clemson Tigers, both in the nation's top 15.

"I'll let the coaches do the trash-talking," he said.

But pictures on the wall of his son Devin Taylor -- the Gamecocks' senior defensive end, who used to man the cash register -- scream for the diners to fill in the blanks.

"Google '10 freakiest college football players,' " one says. "Devin's No. 2."

Sure enough, Bruce Feldman of writes: "He arrived at 215 pounds, but now is an explosive 267-pounder who just broad-jumped 10-feet, 11-inches, (has a vertical jump) in the high 30s and has change-of-direction skills like a 5-9 cornerback."

Diners remember Devin in the Beaufort High class of 2008, where he also lettered in basketball and won the state title in the triple jump. After a big growth spurt to 6-foot-6, Devin seemed to have a wingspan on the football field to reach from sideline to sideline, yanking down opponents at the rate of 110 tackles, 19 tackles for a loss and 10 quarterback sacks in his senior year on one of coach Mark Clifford's best Eagles teams.

Devin has grown two more inches in college. He and former Beaufort High teammate, cornerback Jimmy Legree (No. 15), will try to stop Clemson's high-stepping offense on a chilly night in the foothills.

Devin Taylor was raised by his mother, Sylvia Cuyler, and Larry Taylor credits her with making all the right decisions. Devin is quiet, mannerly, and also a freak in the classroom. He's earned a degree in integrated information technology and is working on his master's degree, with hopes of a professional football career.

Larry Taylor, smiling over his rumbling bass voice, says he didn't play football for Beaufort High because he would have had to walk home after practice, 10 miles to Sheldon.

Instead he's known as one of the best cooks in town. He's been running LT's near the foot of the old bridge for 20 years. And for 40 years he has served the weekly meal at the downtown Beaufort men's social club, the yacht-less Yacht Club. His shrimp and brown gravy and fried seafood are legendary, said club member Jim Gibson.

When the Yacht Club celebrated its 100th anniversary recently, Taylor was given a special award.

"For all these years," Gibson said, "the cook, bartender, waiter, cashier, sergeant-at-arms, quartermaster and general mainstay has been Larry Taylor. Larry began at the Yacht Club just out of high school and has not missed a day since that time."

Like his son -- freakish No. 98 -- he'll let his work do the talking.

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