Salem’s Jonathan Taylor Continues to Dominate College Football

Salem’s Jonathan Taylor Continues to Dominate College Football

Running back Jonathan Taylor continues to put South Jersey football on the map. Taylor, a 2017 graduate of Salem, just completed his sophomore season at the University of Wisconsin.

Unlike many players who redshirt, especially at an accomplished Big 10 program like Wisconsin, Taylor played right away at Wisconsin.

And he has been dominant since he first entered the lineup as a freshman.

Last year he rushed for 1,977 yards (6.6 avg.) and 13 touchdowns. Taylor finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy balloting. In rushing for 1,977 yards, he set a Football Bowl Subdivision freshman record. A highlight was rushing for 321 yards against Purdue.

This season he rushed for 2,194 yards (7.1 avg.) and 16 touchdowns. He finished ninth in the Heisman Trophy balloting.

Next year, which probably will be his final season at Wisconsin, Taylor should be a prime Heisman candidate.

He would be seeking to become the third player from South Jersey to win the Heisman. Mike Rozier of Woodrow Wilson and Nebraska and Ron Dayne of Overbrook and Wisconsin, are the two South Jersey Heisman Trophy winners.

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Taylor capped his sophomore season by rushing for 205 yards and a score in Wisconsin’s 35-3 win over Miami in the Pinstripe Bowl. He earned the game’s MVP honor.

Miami has had one of the top defenses in the country and Taylor has shredded the Hurricanes in two bowl games. Last year he rushed for 130 yards as Wisconsin beat the Hurricanes 34-24 in the Orange Bowl.

In the most recent win over Miami, Taylor accumulated his fifth 200-yard game this season. He joined Dayne and current Los Angeles Chargers standout Melvin Gordon as Wisconsin's 2,000-yard rushers.

Taylor is listed as 5-foot-11 and 221-pounds. He is a rare combination of power and speed. He showed his speed by winning the 100 meters in the Meet of Champions in his junior and senior seasons at Salem. He ran 10.61 to win as a junior and 10.63 as a senior.

In football as a senior he rushed for a South Jersey single-season record 2,510 yards, breaking the mark of former Glassboro and Wisconsin and current Eagles running back Corey Clement. Taylor also scored 35 touchdowns as a senior.

He had originally committed to Rutgers but then switched to Wisconsin, a school notorious for its great rushing attacks.

While Taylor was expected to be a contributor, nobody envisioned the immediate success he had at Wisconsin while competing in one of the top conferences in America.

Running backs take a lot of hits and Taylor has already carried the ball 606 times in his first two seasons That is why most people expect him to just stay around for one more season.

NCAA rules don’t allow a football player to enter the NFL draft until after their third season (either as a redshirt sophomore or true junior).

The running back position, for a time devalued in the NFL is having a revival. And with Taylor’s ability to run over and around defenders, he should become a first round draft pick after making one final Heisman run.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Athletics

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