Jonathan Taylor added another piece to his already stunning college football resume on Thursday.
Taylor, the University of Wisconsin’s star junior running back, won the Doak Walker Award at the Home Depot College Football Award Show in Atlanta, Ga. Taylor has won the past two Doak Walker Awards, given to the nation’s top running back, making him the first Badger to win the award twice.
Taylor joins Arkansas’ Darren McFadden (2006-07) and Texas’ Ricky Williams (1997-98) as the only two-time winners in the 30-year history of the award.
“When you come here, you look at the guys who you’re going against, or even some of the backs who weren’t here, it’s just an honor and a blessing from the man above,” Taylor said.
Taylor led the Big Ten and was second in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 1,909 yards this season — Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard, a finalist for the Doak Walker award, led the FBS with 1,936. Taylor scored 21 touchdowns on the ground and added five receiving scores, giving him an FBS-leading 26 touchdowns.
UW has had three other Doak Walker Award winners — Melvin Gordon (2014), Montee Ball (2012) and Ron Dayne (1999) — but Taylor is the first to ever be a finalist three times.
One of his legacies as a UW running back will be his ability to add new layers to his game each season. This year, his improved receiving and pass-blocking skills helped the Badgers throw more looks at opponents.
“Coming into my collegiate career, I just wanted to be a guy who was consistent,” Taylor said. “Someone you could count on each and every single day, practice, game, every year.”
All signs point to the Rose Bowl being Taylor’s last collegiate game, and if so, he’ll go down as one of the greatest running backs in college football history, and has a strong case for the greatest three-year career for a running back ever. His 6,080 yards are second all-time in program and Big Ten history behind Dayne, and he’s the first college back to gain 6,000 or more yards in just three seasons.
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