Can Jonathan Taylor Run His Way into the Heisman Conversation?


Photo Courtesy: Dylan Buell / Getty Images

Author: Matthew Budkofsky
Wisconsin is currently 6-0 and broke into the top 5 of the AP poll this week. The Badgers had lofty aspirations entering the season, but not many people anticipated Jonathan Taylor to be team’s number one running back. Taylor was a highly-touted recruit coming out of New Jersey. Now, just six games into his career, he’s quickly becoming a household name.

Jonathan Taylor currently leads, or holds a share, of every major rushing category in the Big Ten. Taylor ranks first in attempts, yards, yards per game, and touchdowns. His 7.8 yards per carry is tied for the conference lead with Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins.

With Corey Clement graduating, the Badgers needed to find a new back to handle the ground game, and with Taylor, the running game hasn’t missed a beat. Taylor already has three 215+ yard rushing performances, and has scored at least one touchdown in every game so far this season. Despite his incredible success, many people don’t talk about Taylor when discussing potential Heisman Trophy winners for this season. That is unacceptable.

Taylor does not have the star power that other players like Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, or Saquon Barkley have, so he doesn’t get much of the national spotlight. However, when you look strictly at numbers, Taylor is as impressive as anyone in the country. Plus, when you factor in team success, Taylor’s resume becomes even better. The Badgers are undefeated in arguably the best conference in college football, while Mayfield and Darnold have already suffered losses this year. As for Barkley, he’s a very electrifying player, but he isn’t even the best running back in his own conference, let alone the country. Taylor has over 400 more rushing yards and 4 more rushing touchdowns than Barkley.

If Wisconsin can continue to rattle off wins, this could be a team that we are talking about for the College Football Playoff, and even the National Championship. As the stage continues to get bigger, Taylor will only have more and more opportunities to prove why he is one of the best players in the country. So, when they announce the winner of this year’s Heisman Trophy, don’t be surprised if you hear “Jonathan Taylor.”