Jonathan Taylor (American football)

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Jonathan Taylor
Jonathan Taylor.png
Wisconsin Badgers – No. 23
PositionRunning back
Career history
Bowl games
High schoolSalem (NJ)
Personal information
Born: (1999-01-19) January 19, 1999 (age 20)
Salem, New Jersey
Height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight214 lb (97 kg)
Career highlights and awards

Jonathan Taylor (born January 19, 1999) is an American football running back for the Wisconsin Badgers. During the 2018 season he won the Doak Walker Award, the award for the top running back in college football.[1]

Early years[edit]

Taylor attended Salem High School in Salem, New Jersey. During his 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.[2][3] His senior year he averaged 234.6 yards a game, while scoring 37 touchdowns (35 rushing).[3] 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.[3] 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.[4]

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.[5] He originally committed to play college football at Rutgers University but changed his commitment to the University of Wisconsin–Madison on November 1, 2016.[6][7]

College career[edit]

Freshman season: 2017[edit]

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, along side Bradrick Shaw and Chris James.[8][9] In his first career game against Utah State, he rushed for 87 yards over nine carries and a touchdown.[10] In his second game, against Florida Atlantic, he rushed for 223 yards and three touchdowns.[11] 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.[12]

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).[13] 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.[14] On November 17, he was named a semi-finalist for the Doak Walker Award for the top running back in the country.[15] 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.[16] 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).[17] 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.[18] 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.[19][20] 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[edit]

Taylor entered the 2018 season as a consensus pre-season All-American,[21] and was featured on watch-lists for the Maxwell Award,[22] Doak Walker Award,[23] and Walter Camp Award.[24] 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.[25]

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.[26] 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.[27] The game earned him his fourth career Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors (shared this week with Dwayne Haskins).[28] 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.[29]

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).[30] 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.[31]

Junior season: 2019[edit]

Taylor was a unanimous pre-season All-American heading into the 2019 season, and was widely considered a pre-season Heisman Trophy candidate.[32][33] 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.[34] 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.[35]

College statistics[edit]

Rushing Receiving
Year Team GP Att Yards Avg Long TDs Avg/G Rec Yards TDs
2017 Wisconsin 14 299 1,977 6.6 75 13 141.2 8 95 0
2018 Wisconsin 13 307 2,194 7.2 88 16 168.8 8 60 0
2019 Wisconsin 6 129 825 6.4 72 14 137.5 15 136 4
College Totals 33 735 4,996 6.7 88 43 149.9 31 291 4

College accolades[edit]


Big Ten Conference
  • Big Ten Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year (2018)
  • Big Ten Thompson–Randle El Freshman of the Year (2017)
  • 2× Consensus First-team All-Big Ten (2017,2018)
  • 7× Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week (2× 2017, 2× 2018, 3× 2019)
  • 8× Big Ten Freshman of the Week (2017)


  • Most combined rushing totals as a freshman and sophomore: 4,171[39]
  • Most rushing yards in a season in FBS by a freshman: 1,997
  • Fewest games for a freshman to reach 1,000 rushing yards in FBS history: 7 games (tied with 6 others)[40]
Big Ten Conference
  • Most Big Ten Freshman of the Week awards: 8[41]


  1. ^ Galloway, Jason. "Badgers running back Jonathan Taylor becomes 4th Wisconsin player to win Doak Walker Award". Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  2. ^ Potrykus, Jeff (August 19, 2017). "UW freshman tailback Jonathan Taylor appears ready to play this season if needed". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Santoliquito, Joe. "Jonathan Taylor of Salem receives Jim Henry Award for record-breaking football season". Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  4. ^ Potrykus, Jeff. "Jonathan Taylor's maturity, skill remind former UW linemen of Ron Dayne as a freshman". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  5. ^ "Jonathan Taylor, Salem, Running Back". Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  6. ^ Hunt, Todderick (October 13, 2016). "Should Rutgers worry about RB commit Jonathan Taylor's Wisconsin official visit?". Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  7. ^ Hunt, Todderick (November 2, 2016). "Rutgers RB decommit Jonathan Taylor picks Wisconsin". Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  8. ^ Temple, Jesse. "Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor the star of the show in Badgers' 31-14 victory against Florida Atlantic". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  9. ^ Galloway, Jason. "Badgers football: True freshman Jonathan Taylor named co-starter at running back for Wisconsin". Wisconsin State Journal.
  10. ^ Heller, Dave (September 6, 2017). "Jonathan Taylor's impressive Wisconsin Badgers debut". FOX Sports. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  11. ^ Semrau, Dennis. "No. 10 Badgers get Jonathan Taylor-made big plays from RB". Washington Post. Archived from the original on September 22, 2017. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  12. ^ Oates, Tom (October 14, 2017). "Tom Oates: Badgers freshman tailback Jonathan Taylor isn't caught up in Heisman buzz". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  13. ^ "Wisconsin Athletics - Gm7_WIS_Postgame_Notes_UMD_171021.pdf" (PDF).
  14. ^ Staats, Wayne. "Maxwell Award misspells Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor's name in semifinal list". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  15. ^ Kroeger, Dave (November 17, 2017). "Two B1G running backs named semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award". Saturday Tradition. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  16. ^ Schutti, Dustin (November 20, 2017). "Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor named finalist for Doak Walker Award". Saturday Tradition. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  17. ^ "Jonathan Taylor highlights Week 13 Big Ten individual honors". Big Ten Network. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  18. ^ "2019 NCAA FBS record book" (PDF). NCAA. p. 3.
  19. ^ "2017 Year Summary". Retrieved September 11, 2019.
  20. ^ "2017 Big Ten Conference Summary". Retrieved September 11, 2019.
  21. ^ "AP 2018 Preseason All-America Team, List". Associated Press. August 21, 2018.
  22. ^ "2018 Maxwell Award Watch List". July 16, 2018. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  23. ^ "2018 Doak Walker Award Candidates". July 18, 2018. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  24. ^ Carbone, Al (July 27, 2018). "Walter Camp Football Foundation Announces 2018 Player of the Year Preseason "Watch List"". Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  25. ^ Potrykus, Jeff (August 20, 2018). "Badgers ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press preseason top 25". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  26. ^ Kocorowski, Jake (September 10, 2018). "Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week". Vox Media.
  27. ^ "Wisconsin celebrates Taylor-made OT victory at Purdue". Associated Press. November 17, 2018.
  28. ^ "Big Ten Football Players of the Week". Big Ten Conference. November 19, 2018.
  29. ^ @jessetemple (December 27, 2018). "Running back Jonathan Taylor is the Pinstripe Bowl MVP" (Tweet). Retrieved December 27, 2018 – via Twitter.
  30. ^ "2018 Year Summary". Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  31. ^ "Jonathan Taylor runs for 205 yards in Wisconsin's Pinstripe Bowl victory over Miami". The Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. December 27, 2018.
  32. ^ Kercheval, Ben (August 20, 2019). "2019 AP Preseason All-America team: Alabama, Clemson well represented with six first-team selections". CBS Sports.
  33. ^ Cancian, Dan (July 21, 2019). "2019 College Football: Ranking the Heisman Trophy Favorites". Newsweek.
  34. ^ "Big Ten Football Players of the Week". Big Ten Conference. September 2, 2019.
  35. ^ "Big Ten Players of the Week". Big Ten Conference. September 23, 2019.
  36. ^ Kocorowski, Jake (December 12, 2018). "Jonathan Taylor claims unanimous All-American honors". Bucky's 5th Quarter. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  37. ^ "2017 Walter Camp All-America team". New Haven Register. December 8, 2017. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  38. ^ Galloway, Jason. "Badgers football: Wisconsin's Paul Chryst, Jonathan Taylor earn AP Big Ten awards". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  39. ^ "Badgers' Jonathan Taylor 3rd RB to go over 300 yards in 2018". USA TODAY. Associated Press. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  40. ^ "Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor ties FBS record for quickest freshman to 1,000 yards". October 21, 2017.
  41. ^ "Big Ten Official Athletic Site".

External links[edit]