Jonathan Taylor was born on January 19, 1999 in Salem, New Jersey. Taylor attended Salem High School. During his career in high school, Taylor rushed for 4,642 yards and scored 51 touchdowns. As a senior, he set the New Jersey record with 2,815 rushing yards, which was formerly held by running back, Corey Clement. Taylor would ironically get a scholarship to the same place Clement did, the University of Wisconsin.
Taylor rushed for 6,174 yards (plus scored 50 touchdowns) during his three-year tenure for the Badgers, as he was one of the top running backs in college football. In fact, Taylor ran for more yards in three seasons than anyone in college football history. The former New Jersey native broke the record of Herschel Walker of the Georgia Bulldogs, who had rushed for 5,596 yards in three years.
Unlike Walker, Taylor never won the Heisman Trophy, but he did win back-to-back Doak Walker Awards in 2018 and 2019. Taylor is one of three running backs to ever win two Doak Walker Awards, with the others being Ricky Williams and Darren McFadden.Taylor was less than 1,000 yards away from becoming the all-time leading rusher in college football history when he decided to move on to the NFL after the 2020 Rose Bowl. Former Badger Ron Dayne rushed for 7,125 yards in four years at Wisconsin and Taylor would have easily broken that mark (barring injury) had he returned for his senior year.
Taylor showed his versatility his junior year at Wisconsin, as he as he caught 26 passes, which was 10 more than his freshman and sophomore year combined, for 252 yards and five scores.
That versatility and the blazing speed of Taylor were apparent at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine. NFL Scout Chris Landry was very impressed.
“Taylor is in a battle for the top running back spot in this class,” Landry said. “While D’Andre Swift did not drop the ball this evening (figuratively or literally), Taylor wowed with his performance. He was the only back to run the 40-yard dash in less than 4.4 seconds (4.39 — at 226 pounds). His feet were blurs when required to go over the often dreaded blue pads in drills. Taylor’s cuts were not as quick and effortless as those of Swift, Darrynton Evans or Clyde Edwards-Helaire, but his speed and vision have allowed him to find and exploit holes over the past three years for the Badgers. Despite the lack of receptions early in his collegiate career, Taylor looked natural snatching passes during workouts, grabbing high throws and others that were far from his frame. Scouts will forgive him for running out of his shoe on one rep.”
The fastest running back at the NFL Scouting Combine was drafted in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts. Taylor is interested in astrophysics and yoga.
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