MACOMB, IL. (WGEM) -- The difference between his first season as a Western Illinois linebacker to his final campaign is night and day for Brett Taylor.
"When we came in we were 3-8 and we were able to end it at 8-3, and make the playoffs twice in the past three years," Taylor said.
"I just think that shows how much hard work and dedication we put into the program."
Five years after arriving on campus Taylor ends his career as one of the best defensive players in the history of the Leatherneck program.
He's third all-time in tackles and solo stops, and fourth in assisted tackles. Later this week he will be in Frisco, Texas, as one of three finalists for the Buck Buchanan Award given to the top defensive player in all of FCS football.
"Coming into Western I would have never imagined that. I couldn't have played out my career any more special than I have," he added.
"Every goal that I set out for I accomplished so far. It's been unreal."
Win or lose Taylor's focus remains on his immediate future.
He recently signed with the agency United Athlete Sports who represents two dozen players currently on NFL rosters.
"Obviously by signing me they think I have an opportunity to play at the next level," Taylor explained.
"The agent business is kind of like gambling and they believe in me, and think I can make the (NFL). I'm going to prove them right."
Taylor says professional football has always been his dream and he's eager to try and convince potential employers to make that dream a reality.
"I think I have the ability to make other people around me better," he said.
"I don't think there's going to be a guy that's going to be able to out-work me on the field, off the field, (or) in the film room. I think I can help a team win."
Taylor will be part of Friday's FCS postseason award ceremony in Frisco, Texas. It's there where they will announce the Buck Buchanan Award winner.
Over the past month he's received a number of accolades, including multiple All-American honors, and an Academic All-American accolade. Last month he also received his Master's degree in Sports Management from Western Illinois.