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Sport Jonathan Taylor can take Wisconsin across the goal line and into the College Football Playoff

23:50  26 august  2018
23:50  26 august  2018 Source:   cbssports.com

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With sophomore Jonathan Taylor leading the way, Wisconsin has playoff aspirations in 2018. Joe Robbins/Getty Images. "He's really good at doing While some young running backs spend most of their film-room time studying long rushes and what goes into them, Taylor calls Rudolph, asking him

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a group of people standing next to a football ball© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. MADISON, Wis. -- The media's prying eyes weren't there for Jonathan Taylor's coming out, so we'll just have to rely on eyewitness accounts.

They still talk about that closed scrimmage almost a year ago (Aug. 18, 2017) when Wisconsin's freshman tailback -- running for the No. 2 offense against the starting defense -- gave notice. He was going to be the next legend in a Badgers backfield already crowded with past greats.

"He had a run where he broke I-don't-know-how-many tackles," offensive lineman Michael Deiter recalls of the Wisconsin's then-freshman tailback. "He went 70 or 80 yards. It was eye-opening. Maybe 15-20 minutes later, we threw him a screen, [and] he did the exact same thing."

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Nine teams have made the final four in the College Football Playoff 's first four years of existence. Who will be next? This could be the best Badgers team of this recent run of success. All five starting offensive linemen return. Jonathan Taylor will be trying to top a true freshman season that featured 1

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

Following those two practice bursts, Taylor won the starting job, the locker room and then a place in history. He went on to rush for a NCAA freshman-record 1,977 yards, topping Adrian Peterson's 2004 first-year mark at Oklahoma (1,925).

"At the end  of the summer I like to find out among the new freshmen who looks ready, who's the most athletic, who's working the hardest," Deiter said. "[Strength coach Ross Kolodziej] said, 'Watch out for Jonathan Taylor. He had the fastest 10-yard dash. Super strong, super fast.'

"The freshmen come in and have a class schedule where I would see him only a little bit on Fridays. We got to that first scrimmage and I said, 'OK.'"

In a college football season ready to start with few non-traditional championship contenders, Wisconsin might be the best outlier candidate. The Badgers were the last undefeated Power Five team last year before losing to Ohio State by a touchdown in the Big Ten Championship Game.

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If Wisconsin is going to break through to the College Football Playoff, the formula is going to be familiar. Beat opponents up in both trenches and run, run, run. Only four Power Five teams ran it at a higher rate than Wisconsin last season (64.4 percent).

Taylor fits a familiar mold here. Every year but one since 2005, at least one Badgers back has rushed for a minimum of 1,052 yards.

Coach Paul Chryst can recall the moment the transition was made to the Next Great Badger Back.

"Like Alex said during the play when we threw the screen," Chryst recalls of the scrimmage, 'How come he's not our starter?' I said, 'I think he just became that, right?'"

Chryst was speaking of quarterback Alex Hornibrook. With a refined passing game from the senior, Wisconsin could actually become a more consistent threat across the board.

While Taylor is a given, there are nagging questions about Hornibrook's 15 interceptions last season. Only four quarterbacks nationally -- one in the Power Five -- threw more picks.

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Why Jonathan Taylor is deserving of Heisman consideration. Taylor is one of the country’s most complete Taylor ’s other listed offers were from Virginia Tech, Boston College , Temple, Army, and FCS The Badgers are a playoff contender despite having the No. 37 roster in the country on 247’s

After the first week of the college football season, Wisconsin has moved into a playoff position in the latest USA TODAY Sports bowl projections. Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor breaks free for a touchdown against Western Kentucky in the team's opener.

There is at least the intent to get Taylor more of the screen passes that made him famous last August. Ohio State was able to key on him in the Big Ten championship, limiting Taylor to a career-low 42 rushing yards.

"Drop off 500 of those [rushing] yards, 700 of those yards," Taylor said. "Those could be receiving yards."

Sometimes, Wisconsin's next 1,000-yard rusher is easily identified. Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne was a track-football prodigy out of Pine Hill Overbrook High School in New Jersey.

Sometimes, they just evolve. Taylor was a three-star back (No. 24 nationally) out of Salem, New Jersey, 34 miles from Dayne's hometown.

Wisconsin eventually had to woo Taylor away from the Ivy League. When pressed, Taylor casually mentions the prestigious schools he could have attended, "Harvard, Yale …" In the Ivy League, Taylor says he would have liked to pursue astrophysics. At Wisconsin, he is a philosophy major.

"I had a chance to have a great, full academic college career or go somewhere where academically it didn't matter -- solely sports and football-focused," Taylor said." Looking at all my options I had, this was one of the really rare places that I had that I could have one of those near-Ivy League experiences."

At age 18, Taylor finished third nationally in rushing and sixth in Heisman voting.  The only returning player with more rushing yards is Stanford's Bryce Love, the 2017 Heisman runner-up.

The breaking of Peterson's freshman record is underrated. In 2004, AP finished second in Heisman voting as a 19-year-old. Peterson had the body and talent of a man who could played in the NFL as a teenager. Only those NFL rules -- the ones that force players to enter the draft three years after their high school careers -- kept Peterson in college.

No one is quite comparing Taylor to Peterson, especially Taylor.

"I don't know if he had the caliber line we had here," Taylor said.

They learn quickly here: be humble and fast.

Taylor scores twice, No. 4 Wisconsin beats W. Kentucky .
<p>Jonathan Taylor had two long touchdown runs, Alex Hornibrook threw for 257 yards and two scores and No. 4 Wisconsin opened the season with a 34-3 victory over Western Kentucky on Friday night.</p>A young defense working in seven new starters forced two turnovers inside Wisconsin's 5 . A.J. Taylor paced the short-handed receiving corps with five catches for 85 yards, while Garrett Groshek turned a screen pass into a 43-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter for a 31-point lead.

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