You can trace at least some of the success of the Boise State football teams secondary to a San Diego high school weight room, where Jamar Taylor met Trey Young.
Taylor, a senior cornerback at Boise State who will play his home finale Saturday against Colorado State, was a driven freshman at Helix High.
Young was a Helix alum who played safety at Montana and used the weight room to train for the Canadian Football League.
Excuse me ... Can I work out with you? Taylor asked him.
Yes, Young replied. I train at 6 in the morning and then at 3 oclock.
The funny part, Young says now, is I didnt think he would show. And then when he did show up, he made it every day.
That relationship helped form the intense work ethic that is Taylors defining characteristic.
Perhaps more importantly, it fostered a collaborative spirit in Taylor, who soaked up the knowledge of Boise State veterans Kyle Wilson and Brandyn Thompson before they became NFL Draft picks then became the leader of the Broncos secondary.
Last year, cornerback Jerrell Gavins, the other starter, accompanied Taylor during his grueling offseason workouts.
This year, sophomore cornerback Bryan Douglas, the No. 3 corner before he was injured Oct. 27, tagged along.
Taylor takes pride in that role and expects someone to carry the tradition into next season.
You see (what mentors did for me), Taylor said, and youre like, Ive got all this knowledge dont let me be selfish with it. Help out other people. Theyre going to help out other people. Theres no reason to be selfish with information. Getting those guys better, so they can push you, is going to get you better. Sometimes Im a little hard on guys, but thats just the way I work. The young guys, they probably hate me sometimes. Theyre going to look back and be like, OK. Just like I realize Kyle was hard on me. I look back, and he was a great leader. He wasnt always friendly, but he got his point across and made me learn.
Taylor (5-foot-11, 196 pounds), the Broncos top 2013 draft prospect, likely will follow Wilson to the NFL in the spring.
Ive been thinking about the NFL since I was 5, he said, from the first time I picked up a ball and put on one of my cousins helmets. Right now, I have to worry about this time right here and finishing off my career at Boise State and making memories.
Theyre the closing moments of a career that has been more substance than flash. Taylor is a third-year starter on an exceptional defense but hasnt received an all-conference award getting lost, it seems, amid the talent. He likely will be the 12th member of the 2010 defense to sign with an NFL team.
Taylor ranks fifth on the team this season with 40 tackles, tied for second with two interceptions, first with eight pass breakups and tied for first with three forced fumbles. He also has two sacks.
He has helped the Broncos rank fifth in the nation in pass defense and first with just two touchdown passes allowed.
Hes been really good, coach Chris Petersen said. That corner position in the boundary (short side of the field) that he plays, its not only covering guys. Theres a lot of tackling going on, and blitzing.
Taylor and the Broncos nearly didnt connect.
Taylor, the defensive MVP of his league as a senior at Helix, drew early scholarship offers from Colorado State and Boise State.
He visited both and liked the Broncos, but decided to wait for more options. Boise State withdrew its offer when three cornerbacks committed and renewed it when two backed out. Taylor pounced on the second chance.
Defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski, who recruits the San Diego area, heard a familiar name when he talked to Taylors high school coaches.
They compared him to Trey Young, said Kwiatkowski, who coached against Young while at Montana State.
Taylor and Young, who is a high school coach in Renton, Wash., remain close. Young will attend Saturdays game.
Hes like the big brother I never had, said Taylor, who has one younger brother.
Taylor found additional mentors when he arrived at Boise State in 2008. He played as a true freshman that season alongside Wilson (NFL first-round pick) and Thompson (seventh-round pick).
I really got up under Kyle and Brandyn and tried to just learn as much as I could, he said.
They taught him how to take care of his body. Wear these trainers out, Taylor said.
They showed him the importance of video study. Taylor often can be found staring at a screen in whatever meeting room is available lonely, tedious work that allows him to call out opponents tendencies on game day.
And they taught him how to practice. Some days I practiced hard and some days I didnt, he said.
Much of that learning occurred in 2009, when Taylor redshirted because a knee injury limited him early in the season and Gavins emerged as a solid No. 3 corner.
The work showed immediately in 2010 when Taylor beat out Gavins for a starting spot.
The guy has an unbelievable work ethic physically and then also mentally, going into those film rooms and watching video and taking that preparation to the next level, Kwiatkowski said.
Taylor excels in the classroom, too. He graduated in May with a communication degree and 3.5 GPA. Hes taking classes toward a masters in kinesiology this semester.
He says he once was a lazy kid.
Hes just the opposite now.
Hes probably one of the hardest-working guys on and off the field Ive ever met, senior wide receiver Chris Potter said. One of the biggest things Ive always admired about him is how he takes the young guys and really grabs hold of them and tries to pass off his knowledge.
That could be Taylors legacy at Boise State.
It might be his future, too.
He wants to coach high school, if he banks some money in the NFL, or college, if he needs the larger paycheck.
I feel like if I can teach high school kids what I know in college, that will prepare them better for college, he said. Hopefully one day Ill be a head coach or a D-coordinator.
Taylor already has impacted some high school players. Young tells his story to the players at his school.
To see how hes grown and developed in some of the techniques hes mastered is incredible, Young said. Im telling guys now on the team Im with, Watch this guy. Im showing them film of him. This is a guy who came from trying to work hard. It paid off and look at him now.
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398,