Dual Threat: A Look at Two-Sport Athlete Jarryd Taylor
Stingers Pitcher and Wide Receiver Impresses on the Mound and the Gridiron
After pitching a game, Jarryd Taylor ices his arm. He follows through with some light throwing, then heads to the bullpen. During football practice and games he gets banged up, giving and receiving tackles.
“A lot of ibuprofen [and] epsom salt baths,” he said, chuckling about his post-game recovery.
This is the dual life that Taylor had to balance last fall. He is a wide receiver for the Stingers football team, as well as a pitcher for Concordia’s baseball club.
Both sports take place during the fall semester, and he also has academic responsibilities to complete for his major in finance. At the age of 18, he makes it all look easy.
Last season, Taylor became a mainstay on both Stingers teams. For football—recruited by head coach Mickey Donovan from the St. Francis Red Raiders—he had to claw his way up the ranks.
Starting off on the third team, the 18-year-old quickly made his way through to the second team. After making significant strides during football practice, the coaches promoted him to the first team.
“First game against [the Sherbrooke Vert et Or] went really well,” said Taylor. “I just kept going and hopefully this will take me to new heights in the next few years.”
On the baseball side of things, Taylor’s first season ended with him winning the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec Rookie of the Year award. He also earned a spot on the RSEQ All-Star Team—an impressive feat for a student-athlete who has more than one sport to focus on.
Wearing his maroon Stingers hoodie, Taylor looks down for a moment with a smile extending from ear to ear. His love of sports is evident. Any chance he gets to remain active, Taylor won’t hesitate to jump at the opportunity.
“I’ve always been [playing] four sports in one year, like hockey, baseball, basketball, football,” he admitted. “I’ve always been around sports, it’s nothing new to me.”
The finance major first turned his attention to football at the age of five, and baseball at nine. “I was watching [football], and I guess I told my dad I wanted to start [playing] and then my mom put me in it,” he explained.
When baseball came into the picture, Taylor fondly remembered the days where he would play catch with his dad—“ever since then I fell in love with it,” he said.
Even though he was recruited to play football, hints of Taylor’s background in baseball made their way to Howie Schwartz, the head coach of the Stingers baseball club since 1995.
Schwartz, who will be coaching his 23rd season this fall, approached Taylor about playing. The wide receiver jumped at the chance, but scheduling had to be taken into consideration.
“The conflict is logistics,” explained Schwartz. “Football is in direct competition in terms of the time and requirement and commitments to schedule.”
Because both sports take place in the fall, Schwartz had to go through Donovan to get Taylor to join the team. After a positive discussion, Taylor was able to play the two.
“He performed well above my expectations.” — Howie Schwartz
“I had the opportunity to play both sports in the United States,” he said. “If I’m gonna play [at Concordia], I might as well do both—It’s always better to have both options.”
Because of his football responsibilities, Taylor had a trainer on the side for baseball. This limits Schwartz’s coaching influence. Regardless, Schwartz was left impressed with Taylor’s capabilities. His talent alone got him to where he was, admitted Schwartz.
“He performed well above my expectations,” continued Schwartz. “Especially given the limitations of what I was able to do to get my influence as a coach. Most of what his performance showed was his raw talent.”
Admittedly Schwartz didn’t shy away from the fact Taylor could improve. He said if he had more time to work with him then they could work through some of the challenges that Taylor faced in his first year.
Coaching a dual-sport athlete isn’t something new to Schwartz, though. Taylor follows in the footsteps of Andrew Nagy and Trevor Blanchard, who played football and hockey respectively while playing for the baseball team.
“It’s been an interesting experience [and] it doesn’t come around a lot,” said Schwartz. “When you can count on less than one hand the number that have actually played two sports, it’s a fairly impressive feat.”
Being a student-athlete, the obvious obstacle is that of balancing school and sports. Taylor admitted to having a stable schedule with his academics, but admitted that football and baseball sometimes overlap.
“Yeah, there has been times where I’ve missed football practice for baseball games, and there’s times where I miss baseball games for football practices,” Taylor said.
One practice in particular left his receivers coach frustrated by his departure.
It was a Thursday practice, ahead of the Stingers game against the Université de Montréal Carabins, and Taylor had to skip practice early to make it in time to pitch the game.
“I had to leave because it was my start in baseball, and our wide receiver coach got mad,” said Taylor. But he later admitted all was fine afterwards between the two.
With his first season in the bag, Taylor is already looking forward to next fall. For baseball, he’s confident the team will go to nationals, stating “Schwartz is a good coach, we’re gonna be fine.”
“[He] hasn’t won it in five-six years maybe so it would be pretty cool to win nationals,” said Taylor.
For football, Taylor’s answer was simple: “Make it to the Vanier [cup].”
“If we can make it to the Vanier that’d be cool,” he said. Pausing mid sentence, Taylor corrected himself. He smiled, “Actually I just want to beat Laval.”