Dennis Taylor High School Review
Dennis Michael Taylor was born on January 6, 2001 in Hackensack, New Jersey. The Taylor’s lived in Paramus, NJ. Dennis’ parents, Mary and John, were fans of the cartoon “Dennis the Menace” — so they named their son after the cartoon character.
Like his older brothers, Jeff and Daniel, Dennis was big, fast, tough and strong-armed. All three Taylor boys played football. Jeff was a talented running back in high school that would later play at Penn State University. Eventually, he moved on to the CFL.
Dennis and his brother Daniel didn’t follow in the footsteps of their older brother Jeff and root for Penn State. These boys were fans of “The U”… The University of Miami.
Dennis idolized the school's great linebackers, Jessie Armstead, Jonathan Vilma, Dan Morgan and of course Ray Lewis. It was Dennis’ dream to one day be able to play at “The U”.
Dennis’ talent as an athlete was evident from the age of three. His parents knew it and so did his brothers. Jeff and Daniel pounded Dennis mercilessly throughout his childhood, but this treatment only served humble their little brother and toughens him up. Dennis played football in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring and summer. Football, however, was the family game and his favorite sport.
As his sons began to draw attention on the football field, John offered advice that Dennis remembers to this day. No matter what you hear or read, the elder Taylor said, keep your head level. Never buy into the praise and never believe the criticism. Dennis and his brothers kept those words of wisdom in mind as each moved through youth football and onto Paramus Catholic High School.
Dennis enrolled at Paramus Catholic in 2015 and made the varsity as a freshman. Over the next four years, he would play middle linebacker on defense and running back on offense.
By the end of his sophomore season, Dennis was clearly the best player on P.C.. Ever modest, Dennis did not like the attention accorded him as the varsity stud, He declined to wear a letterman’s jacket and insisted that his parents not cheer for him from the sidelines. Dennis was not a rah-rah guy. He led in a reserved way, either by quietly talking to his teammates or setting examples in practice and during games. Dennis also led in the weight room. His warrior-like workouts were legendary.
The Paladins won their league championship in 2017 and 2018 (under Coach Ty Rodriguez). But it was linebackers coach Don Ackers who had the greatest impact on Dennis. Ackers had played LB at The University of Miami (his favorite college & dream school) and taught Dennis the tricks of the trade, including how to use his hands against blockers. That tip made a tremendous difference in his game. Dennis was named All-State as a junior and as a senior and established school records with 30 tackles in a game and 583 for his varsity career.
A knee injury hampered Dennis somewhat his senior year, keeping him out of the headlines and off the top of the recruiting charts. The University of Miami knew about the senior star, however, and offered him a scholarship. He accepted.