Limited College Opportunities
His late entry into football was one of the reasons he was largely skipped over by college recruiters. Only two recruiters spoke to him about college ball. The University of North Carolina offered him a scholarship, in spite of his poor grades, and Taylor wouldn't turn it down.
He entered college with the belief that he needed to raise hell, skip classes and get into trouble in order to survive. "I was trying to be a hoodlum," Taylor told the New York Times in 1984. He felt that by instilling fear into people, he could gain their respect. And for LT, that's what it was all about. But his social life followed him onto the field, and his first few years with UNC football were rather undisciplined. His inability to focus had him bouncing from noseguard to inside linebacker to outside linebacker.
The coaches finally saw where to put him and gave him a green light to make the inside linebacker position his own. They told LT to rely on his instincts, and he ended up with eighty solo tackles his junior year, forcing seven fumbles. Teams were scared, and the only team that season who tried to confront the menace that was Lawrence Taylor was Oklahoma, which used three men to block him.
As his college career wound down, he met and fell in love with Linda Cooley, a soft-spoken woman who admonished him for his constant belligerence. Taylor's close friends told him he would have to change his ways or risk losing the girl. And he did, proposing to Linda and then marrying her in 1982.