Jonathan Taylor | Srivideo
Jonathan Taylor (American football)
Wisconsin Badgers – No. 23
Position: Running back
College: Wisconsin (2017–2019)
2017 Orange Bowl
2018 Pinstripe Bowl (MVP)
2020 Rose Bowl
High school: Salem (NJ)
Born/Date of Birth: January 19, 1999
Date of Birth: Salem, New Jersey, United States
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight: 214 lb (97 kg)
Jonathan Taylor (born January 19, 1999) is an American football running back for the Wisconsin Badgers. He finished his college career as the No. 6 all-time rusher in the NCAA and the first player in history to rush for more than 6,000 yards in any three-year span. He finished in top 10 of Heisman Trophy voting three times, finishing sixth as a freshman, ninth as a sophomore and fifth as a junior. During both 2018 and 2019 seasons he was named a unanimous first-team All-American and recipient of the Doak Walker Award, the award for the top running back in college football.
Taylor was born in Salem, New Jersey, to his parents Elizabeth Taylor and Jonathan James. His father played basketball for San Francisco State from 1982 to 1986. Taylor attended Salem High School. During his high school football career, he had 4,642 rushing yards and 51 touchdowns. As a senior, he set the New Jersey record with 2,815 rushing yards, which was held by former Wisconsin Badgers running back, Corey Clement. His senior year he averaged 234.6 yards a game, while scoring 37 touchdowns (35 rushing). His senior year of high school he was honored as the Jim Henry Award recipient as the high school area player of the year for New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Taylor was also an accomplished performer in track and field, and he won two state titles in the 100-meter dash, with his best time being 10.49 seconds.
Taylor was rated as a three-star prospect and the 24th-highest ranked running back in the class of 2017 according to the 247Sports Composite. He originally committed to play college football at Rutgers University but changed his commitment to the University of Wisconsin–Madison on November 1, 2016.
Freshman season: 2017
When Taylor arrived at Wisconsin for fall camp he was fourth or fifth on the running back depth chart. Ahead of him were Bradrick Shaw, Chris James, Taiwan Deal and recent Pitt graduate-transfer Rachid Ibrahim. After Deal was injured it allowed Taylor to get more reps in practice. Taylor used these reps to showcase more and more of his abilities and the coaching staff gave him more reps accordingly. His first snap in scrimmage against the first team defense he ran for a 70-yard touchdown, later on that practice he caught a pass over the middle of the field and ran in for a touchdown as well. After his performances in fall camp Taylor opened his freshman year at Wisconsin in 2017 as one of the team's co-starting running backs, alongside Bradrick Shaw and Chris James. In his first career game against Utah State, he rushed for 87 yards over nine carries and a touchdown. In his second game, against Florida Atlantic, he rushed for 223 yards and three touchdowns. After Taylor ran for 249 yards against Nebraska in the fifth game of the season he entered the Heisman Trophy conversation and afterwards was routinely listed in the top five Heisman candidates.
On October 21, 2017, Taylor reached the 1,000 yard rushing mark in his seventh game, matching the FBS freshman record for fewest games needed to record 1,000 yards. He joined Florida's Emmitt Smith (1987), San Diego State's Marshall Faulk (1991), Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson (2004), North Texas' Jamario Thomas (2004) and Wisconsin's P. J. Hill (2006). Taylor rushed for 183 yards on 29 carries with a touchdown in Wisconsin’s 45–17 win over Indiana on November 4, winning his fifth Big Ten Freshman of the Week award and setting a school-record fifth honor in a single season.
On October 30, Taylor was named as a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award. On November 17, he was named a semi-finalist for the Doak Walker Award for the top running back in the country. Just three days later he was named one of three Doak Walker Award finalists, along with Penn State's Saquon Barkley and Stanford's Bryce Love. Following the final game of the season against Wisconsin's rival, Minnesota, Taylor won his eighth Big Ten Freshman of the Week award. In doing so he set a new Big Ten record as he surpassed Ohio State quarterback J. T. Barrett's record of seven Big Ten Freshman of the Week awards set back in 2013. Taylor was listed as a Consensus First-team All-Big Ten pick by the Big Ten coaches and media on November 27, 2017, and was named the conference's freshman of the year.
Taylor ultimately finished his freshman season with 1,977 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns, finishing second all-time in rushing yards among FBS freshmen, behind fellow Wisconsin running back Ron Dayne (2,109 yards in 1996). The NCAA does not include bowl game stats for the period in which Dayne played, so Taylor is the official record holder for freshman rushing yards. Taylor led the Big Ten and finished third in FBS in rushing yards, and finished in second in the Big Ten in rushing touchdowns behind Penn State's Saquon Barkley. He helped the Badgers to a school-record-setting 13 wins, an appearance in the 2017 Big Ten Championship Game, and a victory over Miami (FL) in the Orange Bowl.
Sophomore season: 2018
Taylor entered the 2018 season as a consensus pre-season All-American, and was featured on watch-lists for the Maxwell Award, Doak Walker Award, and Walter Camp Award. Taylor's return, as well as many other key members of the 2017 Orange Bowl-winning Wisconsin team, led to the Badgers being ranked fourth in the preseason AP Poll, tied for the highest start in school history.
In the second game of the season, Taylor set a career high with 253 rushing yards to go along with three touchdowns in a 45–14 win over New Mexico. He was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week for his performance. Taylor again eclipsed the 200 yard mark when he put up 221 yards and three touchdowns on 24 attempts (9.1 YPA) against Nebraska on October 6. The Badgers faltered against their great expectations, losing five regular season games and soon falling out of the rankings, but Taylor remained their most consistent offensive weapon. In a triple overtime win over Purdue on November 17, he put up a career high 321 yards and three touchdowns. The game earned him his fourth career Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors (shared this week with Dwayne Haskins). Wisconsin, 7–5 in the regular season, earned an invitation to the Pinstripe Bowl against Miami (FL) in a rematch of the previous year's Orange Bowl. Taylor put up 205 rushing yards and a touchdown in the game, helping the Badgers to a 35–3 win and earning game MVP honors.
During the 2018 season, Taylor led FBS in rushing yards (2,194) and attempts (307), and finished in the top ten for yards per attempt (7.1) and rushing touchdowns (16). He was awarded the Doak Walker Award, given annually to college football's top running back. Taylor was named a unanimous first-team All-American, first-team All-Big Ten, and Big Ten Running Back of the Year. He became the third Badger running back to eclipse the 2,000 yard mark after Ron Dayne and Melvin Gordon.
Junior season: 2019
Taylor was a unanimous pre-season All-American heading into the 2019 season, and was widely considered a pre-season Heisman Trophy candidate. In Wisconsin's opening game against South Florida, Taylor rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns, and added two touchdown receptions through the air. He became the first Big Ten player to record two rushing and receiving touchdowns in the same game since 2010, and was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week. In a week four victory over then-No. 11 Michigan, Taylor rushed for 203 yards and two touchdowns, becoming the first Wisconsin player to ever rush for 200 yards against the Wolverines. He earned his sixth career Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors for the performance. In a November 16 game against Nebraska, Taylor rushed for 204 yards and two touchdowns, and in the process broke Herschel Walker’s record for most rushing yards through a junior season. He was named Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week with Shea Patterson, his fourth Player of the Week honors of the season. The next week, against Purdue, Taylor had his FBS-record-setting 12th career 200 yard game.
Taylor and the Badgers represented the West Division in the Big Ten Championship Game, but fell to Ohio State, 34–21. The team was invited to the Rose Bowl to play Pac-12 champion Oregon, where they also lost, 28–27, to end the year at 10–4. During the Rose Bowl, Taylor eclipsed the 2,000 yard mark on the season, and became the second player ever in FBS to have two 2,000 yard seasons. The other was Troy Davis. Taylor finished the season tied atop the Big Ten and tied for third nationally with Ohio State's JK Dobbins in both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. Each had 2,003 yards and 21 touchdowns. For the second consecutive year, Taylor was named a unanimous first-team All-American, first-team All-Big Ten, and the Big Ten Running Back of the Year. He was again the recipient of the Doak Walker Award, becoming the first player to win the award twice since Darren McFadden in 2006 and 2007.
On January 3, 2020, Taylor announced he will forgo his senior season and enter the 2020 NFL Draft. Taylor ended his college career at fourth on the all-time NCAA FBS career rushing yards leaderboard, with 6,174 yards.
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