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Short Shifts

Kings make NHL fan out of TikTok sensation Taylor IV

Former college football player attends first game on Jan. 8, said it won't be his last

by Lauren Merola @laurmerola / Staff Writer

TikTok creator and former University of Florida football player Clifford Taylor IV has made some popular friends since moving to Los Angeles.

They go by names of the NFL, MLB, NASCAR and NHL. After being followed by the NBA and talking with the Los Angeles Kings and NHL on TikTok, Taylor created a "Sports League Challenge," asking other professional sports leagues to follow him back.

Since 2019, posting videos on TikTok helped Taylor share his Division I football walk-on story, sign with an agency and score deals with companies like Wilson, Gatorade and even Crocs. On Jan. 4, it helped the content creator befriend the NHL and on Jan. 8, attend his first NHL game.

"My first hockey game, especially being so new out here in LA, it was mind blowing and to this day, it was one of the coolest moments of my life," Taylor said.

And it all started with a TikTok comment.

One of Taylor's friends and fellow sports centric TikTok creator Mac Hereford posted a video unboxing a Nashville Predators sweatshirt the NHL sent him. Taylor commented, "Tell 'em I need some Hurricanes stuff" on the video and the NHL responded and followed Taylor back.

"I'm a Hurricanes fan at heart because I'm from Carolina, but hey, I'm in LA. I wouldn't mind going to a Kings game, maybe rocking a custom NHL jersey," the North Carolina native said in his TikTok responding to the NHL. "But we have to make sure it has No. 45 on it. For real though, NHL, what's good?"

The NHL and Kings responded, inviting Taylor to the Kings game against the Detroit Red Wings at Arena on Jan. 8.

Video: Clifford Taylor IV

"I walked into the arena and they had a custom jersey with my number from college and my name on it," Taylor said. "This was so cool… This was my first NHL game and I'd do it all over again."

Video: Clifford Taylor IV

Taylor grew up playing basketball and wanted to play at Florida. When that didn't work out, but he still wanted to be a part of a team, he pivoted. Despite having never played a down of football before, Taylor tried out and walked on at Florida for his final two years of school, starting in the 2019-2020 season. The newly formed tight end created his TikTok account on Nov. 18, 2019, accumulating more than 327,000 followers and 11.8 million likes since posting his first TikTok video that day about the role of a walk-on athlete.

"I do a lot of content based on my experiences as a walk-on and trying to encourage people all over the country, not just at Florida, to take that experience to be a walk-on," he said. "High school coaches, they have a tendency to tell seniors, 'This might be your last time you're ever playing competitive sports.' Well, I call bull on that. You might not get a scholarship, but you still have an opportunity to play for a Division I program."

Video: Clifford Taylor IV

Taylor said he enjoys branching out and creating content about other sports, like hockey. Growing up in Charlotte, Taylor went to NBA games over NHL games because of the proximity to teams, with the Charlotte Hornets close in town and the Hurricanes arena located upwards of two hours away in Raleigh, North Carolina.

For a guy who had never been to a hockey game, Taylor's fandom has now gone bi-coastal.

"The Kings were the ones who reached out to me, they knew that I was new out here and they opened the door for me," he said. "So, I'm definitely a Kings fan out here now."

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