Taylor the Latest Great NFL RB from South Jersey

Taylor the Latest Great NFL RB from South Jersey
Jonathan Taylor, the pride of Salem High, has continued a great tradition of South Jersey running backs in the NFL.
 
Taylor just completed his rookie season with the Indianapolis Colts and he enjoyed an outstanding season after being selected in the second round out of Wisconsin by the Indianapolis Colts.
 
His rookie season ended with Saturday’s 27-24 playoff loss to the host Buffalo Bills. 
 
Taylor didn’t start his NFL career on fire. He averaged 47.6 rushing yards over his first nine games. However, he averaged rushed for 741 yards (6.7 avg.) and seven touchdowns over the final six games after missing one due to injury. 
 
Taylor set a franchise record by rushing for 253 yards during a 28-14 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the season finale. That win clinched a playoff berth for the Colts.
 
In that final game he averaged 8.4 yards on his 30 carries and also scored two touchdowns, a 1-yard run in the second quarter and a 45-yard run to close out the scoring and late in the fourth quarter to seal the win. 
 
For the season, Taylor rushed for 1,169 yards on 232 carries (5.0 average) and 11 touchdowns. He also had 36 receptions for 299 yards and a score. 
 
Taylor had three games of 100 yards rushing or more. In addition to the 253 yard game, he rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries in a 28-11 win over Minnesota in the second game of the year. Taylor also rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries in a 44-27 win at the Las Vegas Raiders on Dec. 13. 
 
In the playoff loss, he had 21 carries for 78 yards and touchdown. 
 
South Jersey has produced so many great NFL backs, led by Franco Harris, the Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Famer from Rancocas Valley.
 
Harris is 15th in the NFL all-time rushing list with 12,120 yards. He rushed for 91 touchdowns and won four Super Bowls with the Steelers. 
 
At Penn State Harris played in one of the great college backfields of all-time with Lydell Mitchell, who like Taylor, attended Salem High. 
 
Mitchell is 74th on the NFL all-time rushing list with 6,534 yards. 
 
Floyd Little, who played for Bordentown Military Institute, is 80th on the all-time NFL rushing list with 6,323 yards. Little, who passed away on Jan. 1, is like Harris, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 
 
Also top running backs from South Jersey included Heisman Trophy winners Mike Rozier from Woodrow Wilson and Nebraska and Ron Dayne from Overbrook and Wisconsin. 
 
Rozier was also a two-time Pro Bowl running back with the Houston Oilers. Dayne spent seven seasons in the NFL after being a first round draft choice by the New York Giants. 

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And now Taylor is the latest to carry on the South Jersey tradition. 

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Author: Marc Narducci

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