There might not have been a player more dedicated to making progress in the weight room during the past two offseasons for the Ready High School football team than senior Brady Taylor.
During the times when there are no games or practices, lifting significantly beats the alternative, according to Taylor.
"I don't like to have an offseason," he said. "Growing up I pretty much played every (sport) and there was really never an offseason. The first week you're done with football, you want to get back in the weight room because it gets kind of boring."
That mentality has paid off in numerous ways for the left tackle and defensive end, who has grown to what he estimates as 6-foot-5 1/2 and 275 pounds.
At the beginning of his junior season, Taylor weighed between 240 and 245 but surprised then first-year coach Joel Cutler by putting on 10 pounds during the season.
Taylor then bulked up to 270 and participated in a national combine in San Antonio, Texas, in coordination with the U.S. Army All-American Bowl held Jan. 5.
"You had (Rivals.com) and (Scout.com) and the top kids in the country going there," Taylor said.
The combine also attracted plenty of college recruiters, which helped Taylor land a slew of Division I offers over the next few months.
Among those to offer were nine Mid-American Conference programs and 12 BCS schools including Virginia Tech, and Taylor verbally committed to the Hokies on July 29.
Although Ready has had just three losing seasons since 1998 and went 7-3 a year ago, Taylor is the highest-profile recruit to come through the program since future NFL player Antoine Harris signed with Louisville in 2000.
"He's definitely earned it," Cutler said. "He's got our blind side with great speed and quickness. He's a good basketball player, so he moves well in space. He has some God-given abilities and he put the effort into nutrition and he lifts at a minimum four days a week."
Taylor recently accepted an invitation to play in the International Bowl, which will be held in February in Austin, Texas.
"With his helmet on he is a very intense player and a focused young man," Cutler said. "With it off, he's a good student, a good role model and goes to mass weekly."
While Taylor was a key player for the Silver Knights' boys basketball team as a sophomore before electing not to play last winter, his athleticism and football savvy have roots in his family.
Taylor's mother, Susan Taylor, is a former volleyball player for Ready. His father, John Taylor, played football for Ohio University from 1988-92.
His first cousin is Josh Kusan, who was the ThisWeek Super 25 football captain for DeSales as a senior in 2008 and went on to play for Air Force.
Taylor, who attended South-Western City Schools in middle school but enrolled at Ready as a freshman because of the levy failure that caused the cancelation of fall sports in the district in 2009, grew up watching Kusan excel in high school and attended some of his college games.
Taylor missed the first few games of his freshman season because of a stress fracture in his right foot and weighed just more than 200 pounds by the end of that season.
As a sophomore, he began putting the weight back on in the weight room.
Cutler, a 1994 Jonathan Alder graduate who has a college degree in health and sports science, was hired as Ready's coach in January 2012. His brother, Kyle Cutler, is an assistant at Ready who played for Bowling Green and later got involved with the strength and conditioning program as a graduate assistant.
Aided by the Cutlers' influence, Taylor began to find his niche regarding his diet and workout routine.
Taylor is planning to study dietetics at Virginia Tech, which he believes has one of the nation's top programs in that area -- a fact that helped make his decision easier to choose a school almost five hours away from his home.
The extra work done by he and his teammates in the weight room also has him excited for the season ahead.
Ready returns all but four key players after making the Division IV playoffs last year and has dropped to Division VI.
"When (the Cutlers) came in I got really serious about (diet and weight-lifting)," Taylor said. "I knew I had the potential to be a good player. At most schools they don't lift during the season but we do lift five days a week. That's really helped us all put on weight.
"(The team) is all really tight. Even when practice is hard, there's no place I'd rather be. And coach Cutler really pushes us."