East Central's Stanvon Taylor, like Elrod and Casillas, goes from Cardinal to Sooner
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
1/16/13 at 8:45 AM
East Central High School holds two sons in high regard.
Jimbo Elrod and Tony Casillas were Cardinal standouts. They played football at Oklahoma. Both were All-Americans and won national championships with the Sooners.
East Central's Stanvon Taylor was born more than a decade after Casillas' last game at the east Tulsa school. The OU football commitment has never met Elrod or Casillas, but he knows about the pair.
"I think about them every once in a while, and I'm glad to have the opportunity to play at the University of Oklahoma," Taylor said. "I also want to represent East Central. We have great athletes and great students."
Besides Elrod and Casillas, not many - if any - other East Central graduates have made significant football contributions at Oklahoma.
"I think everyone has pride in their high school and where they are from," said Casillas, a 1981 graduate. "This gives all of us eastsiders and people that went to EC some identity.
"The football program has gotten much better and put out athletes, but anytime you are in an area with Jenks and Union, it's good to see someone represent EC and have a chance to be a big-time player."
Elrod has kept up with Taylor, an all-state defensive back for the Cardinals in 2012.
"I've seen a lot of clips of him; after watching him and talking to the guys down at (OU), I've learned he's a really good player," Elrod said. "I'm excited to finally have another East Central player at OU."
Taylor will be depended on to contribute early. The 5-foot-11, 165-pounder was visited by Sooners head coach Bob Stoops and defensive coordinator Mike Stoops on Monday. He has been projected as a cornerback, and the OU coaches told him they likely will need him immediately.
Neighborhoods change, like most do over a 30-40 year stretch, and the east Tulsa demographic differs from the 1970s and 1980s.
But East Central hasn't changed much over the years. The current building, with its unique architecture, will turn 50 in 2016. The football stadium - which was once a parking lot - has been in place since 1997.
Elrod, 58, remembers the campus vividly. The 1972 graduate fondly recalled former coaches like Rod Goodsell, Rod Bridges and Larry Smith.
"I had them in class and on the field," Elrod said. "I had great respect for those guys."
Casillas, 49, also had a strong supporter in school counselor Pat Holder.
"She was very influential in my direction and a big part of my life," Casillas said. "She was a great buffer between me and the recruiting process. She was a remarkable woman that helped not only me but others."
Elrod and Casillas were good role models for East Central. Current Cardinals football coach Bobby Klinck thinks Taylor also fits that mold.
"He's definitely one of those types of people," Klinck said. "He's an incredible ambassador for our school and our program. He has the ability ... he set goals and went about trying to achieve those things.
"There are some that want to be Division I football players but don't go through the things you have to do to get there."
Taylor started getting the star treatment from fans shortly after his commitment to Oklahoma last May. After high school games, he said, people would introduce themselves and take pictures with him.
One thing seems evident - Taylor will not forget where he came from.
The retired East Central jerseys of Casillas and Elrod won't let him.
"That just pushes me," he said. "I want to be the best and get down to the University of Oklahoma."
TAYLOR’S 2012 STATS
- 4 interceptions
- 34 tackles
- 67 receptions
- 1,107 yards
- 15 touchdowns
- 301 yards
- 29 carries
- 2 touchdowns
- 5-of-7 passing
- 202 yards
- 2 touchdowns
From East Central Cardinals to Oklahoma Sooners
(EC Class of 1981)
At OU: Consensus All-American in 1984-85 ... Big Eight defensive player of the year, UPI national lineman of the year in 1984 ... Lombardi Award winner (1985) ... Second player taken in 1986 NFL draft (Atlanta Falcons)
(EC Class of 1972)
At OU: Consensus All-American in 1975 ... His 44 tackles for loss remains a school record for a career ... Fifth-round selection in 1976 NFL draft by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Read more Sunday
Catch up with TU, OSU and OU recruiting in Sunday's Tulsa World.
Original Print Headline: Cardinal contributors
Eric Bailey 918-581-8391
East Central's Stanvon Taylor, an OU commitment, joins elite company. Tony Casillas and Jimbo Elrod were All-Americans at Oklahoma after their East Central careers. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World