Lane Burroughs christened Taylor Young as the greatest player he’s ever coached.
Teammate Steele Netterville dubbed Young a dirtbag with the highest baseball IQ he’s ever met.
And now that his collegiate career is complete, Louisiana Tech fans can simply call him “hit king.”
“I wish I had a lifetime contract to play here,” Young said. “Best five years of my life.”
All of those accolades are great, but friends and family can settle for calling him future husband for the time being. Young might not have gotten the fairy tale ending on the baseball field that all players seek, but he did score perhaps his greatest victory at J.C. Love Field when he proposed to his longtime girlfriend, Madison Gibson. She said yes.
The execution was even better than Young’s initial plan. He approached his mother, Keri Gross, and Netterville’s mom, Teri Netterville, about putting on a senior baseball party and then turning it into an engagement party last week.
“My mom and Mrs. Teri jumped all over that,” Young said. “I told them I would take her down to the field and tell her that I didn’t get the closure I wanted to because our season finished in Texas. So I asked her, ‘Hey, do you mind walking on the field with me one last time?’”
As the couple reached Young’s shortstop position, the rally train passed by, as both Young and Gibson signaled “choo choo” right before Young popped the question. (He had a nice assist from the video board, as it read, "Madison, will you marry me?") In another strange, yet perfectly timed event, two men parachuted down to the field. Young couldn’t have played the situation any better at short, which says a lot about the 2021 Gold Glove Award Winner.
“I had some people ask me, ‘How much did you pay to get them to fly down?’ I was like, ‘I didn’t even know that was about to happen,’” Young said.
Consider Young’s final moments at short a picture perfect one, which is fitting for a player who ended his career with a school record 297 hits. He led the team in hitting (.364), walks drawn (58) and runs scored (89) in 2022. He made the transition from second base to shortstop look effortless, while playing through a hand injury early into the season. He also hit 12 home runs and 51 RBIs as the Bulldogs leadoff hitter. Burroughs said it, himself. There might not have ever been a better player to don a Bulldog uniform.
“I don’t know if there’s ever been a more important player in the history of our program than Taylor Young,” Burroughs said.
With Young and teammates like Netterville alongside him, Louisiana Tech has made back-to-back NCAA Regionals and won 85 games in the last two seasons. The ultimate goal for Burroughs is to make it to the College World Series, but he knows the “Lane Train” doesn’t set course for Omaha without this group of seniors laying down the tracks. That groundwork included winning the school’s first C-USA Tournament Championship on the diamond in 2022.
And Young’s baseball journey isn’t over yet. After passing up on a sixth round call from the Chicago Cubs last year — a decision he doesn’t regret — the former West Monroe standout has already participated in multiple workouts in front of professional scouts. And he’s just looking for an opportunity to prove once again that it’s not the size of the 5’9”, 170-pound dog in the fight, but, well you know the rest...
“He works so hard,” Netterville told The Morning Drive with Aaron and Jake. “His fielding is pretty much perfect. He knows the strike zone. He has good bat control. I think a lot of teams missed out on an opportunity last year with him, but whoever picks him up this year, your organization will change for the better.”
Burroughs called Young and Netterville "program changers" after Louisiana Tech’s season ended in a 9-7 loss against Air Force in Austin. And that’s a fitting description when you think about it. Louisiana Tech's stadium, culture and reputation are all far different from when those players arrived to campus and played as freshmen in 2018.
“Me and Steele were sitting together in the facility the other day and just got chills thinking about it,” Young said. “I’m in awe of all that’s happened. I believe everything happens for a reason and God has a plan. Everything that has happened in my four and a half years at Tech has exceeded all expectations. It’s just been incredible… Coach Burroughs, and what he’s got going on here, is truly special.”