Standing tall at 6 feet 5 inches, it’s tough to miss Taylor Krumrei. The guy is powerfully built, with visible layers of defined muscle. He moves with confidence, light on his feet. He possesses a perfect mix of athleticism and strength that screams “athletic success.”
When you sit down to speak with him, he is unexpectedly soft-spoken and articulate. He is intelligent, nearing a degree in human physiology here at the University of Oregon. There is a weight to everything Taylor says, yet he is reserved, holding his cards close to his chest.
“He is kind, compassionate and caring,” Taylor’s younger brother Jordan Krumrei said. “That’s what makes him so special.”
There exists this contradiction between Taylor’s outward appearance and his interior personality. Yet, by combining the two, he has quietly put together a successful career as a member of the Oregon men’s rugby club.
The first time Taylor played rugby was his senior year of high school. He stumbled into it through the suggestion of his friends. He found that the complexity and brotherhood of the sport captured his interest much more than any other athletics had in the past. This passion continued on in college.
“When I first heard he joined, I was happy for him because he always played a lot of sports, but never got committed to one,” Jordan said.“For him to join the club team was pretty cool.”
Taylor had tried football, but found he quickly grew tired of the repetition of blocking the entire game. Because of his size, being a lineman was one of the few options available.
In rugby, he was freed from the monotony of a single task, instead enjoying the free-flowing motion of the sport. He was allowed to take on multiple roles, one of the main aspects which drew him in.
“I like how it’s constant, no stopping,” Taylor said. “You have to be good all around.”
Taylor, who is a fifth-year senior, has played for the Ducks his entire career here at Oregon.
“I have just never been one of those guys who likes the spotlight,” Taylor said. “I would rather just work and do my job.”
As lock, his job is to focus on securing the ball and maintaining possession. He serves as the glue guy, holding things together during matches, while setting his teammates up for success.
Though the fans might not always recognize his efforts on the pitch, his teammates are well aware.
“He does all of the little things,” captain Anton Matschek said. “He is one of the best locks in the league and region.”
Perhaps his biggest contribution to the club has been his positive effect on team chemistry by supporting more vocal leaders through his actions. He isn’t the kind of player to cause controversy, always adding and never subtracting from the efforts of the club. He treats every player equally, whether it’s a fifth-year senior or the newest member of the team.
It will be strange next year not seeing Taylor’s huge frame out on the pitch for the Ducks, a reality that he is still figuring out as well.
“It’s a weird feeling, knowing I won’t come back next year,” Taylor said. “I definitely enjoyed it. Probably the best decision I made to stick with it.”
Follow Christopher Keizur on Twitter @chriskeizur