- - Monday, October 15, 2018

OWINGS MILLS, MD. | As a young boy, Tavon Young would attend Redskins games at FedEx Field with his grandfather.

Now the Prince George’s County product is playing pro football at another stadium in Maryland as a third-year defensive back for the Baltimore Ravens.

“It has been great. Everyone wants to be part of a good defense,” Young said. “You have to keep working and keep going.”

Young, 24, has overcome skepticism about his 5-foot-9 height and questions about the level of competition he faced in college at non-Power 5 school Temple to become a starter in the NFL. He has also returned to the Ravens‘ defensive backfield after missing all of last season with an injury.

He played alongside Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby at Potomac High School in Oxon Hill. But while Darby went on to Florida State, Young attracted very little attention from big-time programs.



But it was at Temple that he gained a mentor in defensive backs coach Francis Brown, now the assistant head coach/cornerbacks at Baylor.

“(Brown) taught me defensive back stuff,” Young said. “He and I had a relationship beyond him as a coach. I just worked hard and put in extra time every day. I had my natural ability, but he taught me up as a player.”

Young has no regrets about being overlooked by Maryland or other, larger programs.

“I am glad I ended up where I ended up,” he said.

He wasn’t overlooked by the NFL, as Baltimore grabbed him in the fourth round with the 104th pick in 2016.

Young played in all 16 games as a rookie, with 11 starts, and had 50 tackles and two interceptions. In his first career start, Young intercepted New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning in 2016.

But Young missed all of the 2017 season after tearing his ACL during practice that previous spring.

“I just took it as it happened for a reason,” he said. “It is tough (to rehab), but you know you are coming back even stronger.”

Back on the field again this season, Young is making up for lost time.

Young had two sacks in a 47-3 thrashing of the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 9 and came up with his third career interception on Oct. 7 when he picked off Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Young has played in the first six games, with two starts, and had one tackle Sunday as the Ravens shut out the Titans, 21-0. Baltimore had 11 sacks in the game, one short of the NFL record.

The Ravens‘ defense hasn’t allowed a touchdown after the first half in the first five games this season, something that had not been done in the first five contests of any season since the 1991 San Francisco 49ers.

Young is part of a defensive backfield that includes safeties Tony Jefferson and Eric Weddle and fellow corner Brandon Carr. Weddle is in his 12th season, Carr his 11th and Jefferson is in his sixth. Weddle is in his third season with the Ravens after starting his career with the San Diego Chargers.

“We play as one,” Weddle said. “There are no egos. Halftime comes, we know how teams are impacting us, and we try to make adjustments from there.”

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