Football future is bright for Sehome's Taylor Rapp

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJuly 7, 2013 

Taylor Rapp Sehome High

Sehome High School sophomore-to-be Taylor Rapp competes in a Team USA game.

CHRIS RAPP — COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

Sehome sophomore-to-be Taylor Rapp is enjoying the opportunity to watch his older brother, Austin, pursue his dreams of playing NCAA Division I football as a preferred walk on freshman at Washington State this year.

"He's always wanted to play college football, and so have I," Rapp said in a phone interview. "He got his dream, and now I'm hoping that maybe I can do it, too. It would be neat to some day play against each other. We always motivate each other. He's always pushing me, and I'm always pushing him. He got there, and now it's my turn to work toward getting there."

Rapp is definitely taking some big steps toward reaching his goal.

For the second straight year, he'll be participating in USA Football's Development games. The U-16 camp begins Saturday, July 13, at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and continues through July 19.

"It's a good chance to sharpen your skill and maybe learn from some really good coaches," Rapp said. "They always have some really good coaches there that played in the NFL or in college. ... It's a great opportunity to learn from coaches you usually don't have access too, and I hope to apply what I learn at Sehome."

Rapp attended a similar camp for U-15 players last year at the University of Texas. He was selected by coaches for the camp based on the strength of a tape that he sent in without having to go to a regional tryout.

The 150 players that are selected to the camp are divided into three teams - Red, White and Blue - that work individually with their set of coaches for the next three to four days of camp, Rapp said. On the final day of camp, the teams play each other.

Rapp went as a wide receiver last year, though he likely will play running back and see some time in the slot for the Mariners this fall.

Rapp said Team USA invited him back to Texas in February for a U-15 game against Canada.

"To play with other players from across the country was amazing," Rapp said. "It was really good to play against the Canadians. They're surprisingly good."

Rapp estimated that he caught 10 passes for more than 100 yards in the game, but it wasn't enough to put Team USA on top, as he said they lost by a touchdown.

"It was crazy, when we played the Canadians, I thought we would stomp them," Rapp said. "But they put up a really good fight."

Rapp's performance at last year's camp and the game in February earned him an automatic invitation to this year's camp in Massachusetts.

"I got to know a lot of good players last year, and I'm sure I'll see a number of them again this year," Rapp said. "It will be fun to go up against them again."

Rapp has already shown he has some of the athletic skills required to go up against some of the best athletes in his age group.

He was one of five Whatcom County players to attend a Nike Football SPARQ (Speed, Power, Agility, Recreation and Quickness) Combine on June 8 at Tigard High School in Portland, Ore.

The camp was the last of 13 held nationwide, testing high school football players in four areas - 40-yard dash, vertical jump, 20-yard pro agility shuttle and the powerball toss.

Rapp, a 6-foot, 191 pounder, ran a 4.87-second 40, scored 4.15 in the shuttle run, 37.5 in the power ball and had a vertical jump of 30.4 inches. His total score of 93.00 not only ranked 23rd overall at the Portland camp and fifth among running backs, it was also the second best score put up by an athlete in the Class of 2016.

"It feels great, but I want to do way better in years coming up," said Rapp, who rushed for 250 yards and two touchdowns on 50 carries as a freshman and caught 11 passes for 175 yards. "I'm going to attend the SPARQ Combine the next three years and see how much I improve."

Reach David Rasbach at david.rasbach@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2271.

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