Jonathan Taylor

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Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor declares for NFL draft

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The pool of running backs heading off to the NFL just got a little deeper. Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor announced he is declaring for the NFL draft and leaving Wisconsin a year early to do so. Taylor shared his decision with a video message share don his Twitter account Friday evening.

Taylor leaves Wisconsin having left a mark at a program that has been known for running backs. Taylor won back-to-back Doak Walker Awards in 2018 and 2019 and rushed for 2,000 yards in back-to-back seasons, with 2,003 yards and 21 rushing touchdowns this past season. In his three years at Wisconsin, Taylor rushed for 6,274 yards and 50 touchdowns. He will now head off to the NFL as one of the top running back prospects available for any NFL team in search of a running back answer.

Taylor joins a talented running back pool heading off to the NFL that also includes early entrants J.K. Dobbins of Ohio State and D’Andre Swift of Georgia. Swift announced his NFL decision earlier in the day.

Joe Burrow has historic night for LSU at The Home Depot College Football Awards Show

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College football’s awards circuit took center stage at the College Football Hall of Fame Thursday night, and LSU quarterback Joe Burrow was a big winner. Burrow, who already has been named the AP Player of the Year and many feel will be putting his hands around the Heisman Trophy this weekend, was awarded the Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year and the Maxwell Award for two-thirds of the college football triple crown.

Burrow is the first player from LSU to win the Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year award in the history of the award, which was first presented in 1967. Burrow also took home the Davey O’Brien Award for the nation’s top quarterback, which is also a first for the LSU program.

Burrow also won the first Maxwell Award and Davey O’Brien Award in program history. And he wasn’t the only Tiger making some program history. Wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase was named the winner of this year’s Biletnikoff Award, marking the second time a player from LSU was named the nation’s most outstanding receiver (Josh Reed, 2001).

Burrow was not the only LSU player to collect some hardware at the award show. Grant Delpit won the Jim Thorpe Award for the top defensive back. Delpit is the third player from LSU to win the award, with Patrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne won the award in 2010 and 2011, respectively. It is the third consecutive season a player form the sEC has won the award (Minkah Fitzpatrick of Alabama in 2017 and Deandre Baker of Georgia in 2018).

While Burrow was in the midst of taking home some hardware back to Baton Rouge for the first time, Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor was doing something that is pretty common in Madison. Taylor was named the winner of the Doak Walker Award for the nation’s best running back. It was his second striaght year winning the award, entering Taylor in some rare company as one of three two-time winners of the award. Darren McFadden of Arkansas and Ricky Williams of Texas are the only other back-to-back winners.

Ohio State defensive end Chase Young brought an end to a Bednarik Award drought for the Big Ten by being the first player from a Big Ten school to win the award since 2007. Penn State’s Dan Connor had been the most recent Big Ten player to win the award for the nation’s top defensive player. Young also made some program history by doing so.

Below is a list of all of the awards presented during the show. A handful of the awards were previously announced but formally presented Thursday night.

(Winners in bold, listed along with finalists for the awards)

WALTER CAMP PLAYER OF THE YEAR
(College player of the year)
Joe Burrow, LSU (Sr.)
Justin Fields, Ohio State (So.)
Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State (So.)
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin (Jr.)
Chase Young, Ohio State (Jr)

MAXWELL AWARD
(College player of the year)
Joe Burrow, LSU (Sr.)
Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma (Sr.)
Chase Young, Ohio State (Jr.)

CHUCK BEDNARIK AWARD
(College defensive player of the year)
Derrick Brown, Auburn (Sr.)
Isaiah Simmons, Clemson (Jr.)
Chase Young, Ohio State (Jr.)

DAVEY O’BRIEN NATIONAL QUARTERBACK AWARD
(Nation’s best quarterback)
Joe Burrow, LSU (Sr.)
Justin Fields, Ohio State (So.)
Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma (Sr.)

BILETNIKOFF AWARD
(Outstanding receiver)
Ja’Marr Chase, LSU (So.)
CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma (Jr.)
Michael Pittman Jr., USC (Sr.)

DOAK WALKER AWARD
(Nation’s premier running back)
Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State (So.)
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin (Jr.)
J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State (Jr.)

OUTLAND TROPHY
(Nation’s most outstanding interior lineman)
Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin (Jr.)
Derrick Brown, Auburn (Sr.)
Penei Sewell, Oregon (So.)

PAYCOM JIM THORPE AWARD
(Nation’s best defensive back)
Grant Delpit, LSU (Jr.)
Jeff Okudah, Ohio State (Jr.)
J.R. Reed, Georgia (Sr.)

LOU GROZA COLLEGIATE PLACE-KICKER AWARD
(Nation’s outstanding placekicker)
Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia (Sr.)
Keith Duncan, Iowa (Jr.)
Blake Mazza, Washington State (So.)

RAY GUY AWARD
(College punter of the year)
Dane Roy, Houston (Sr.)
Max Duffy, Kentucky (Jr.)
Sterling Hofrichter, Syracuse (Sr.)

THE HOME DEPOT COACH OF THE YEAR
(Announced Dec. 11)
Ed Orgeron, LSU

DISNEY SPIRIT AWARD
Casey O’Brien, Minnesota

Buckeyes dominate All-Big Ten offense, Justin Fields named Offensive Player of the Year

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It did not take long for Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields to leave his mark in Columbus. In his first season after transferring from Georgia to Ohio State, Fields has been named the Big Ten’s Offensive Player of the Year. Fields was also named the Big Ten’s Quarterback of the Year and named to the All-Big Ten First Team Offense. He was joined by a number of Buckeyes on the All-Big Ten roster.

Fields is Ohio State’s second striaght winner of the Big Ten’s Offensive Player of the Year Award. Dwayne Haskins won the award last season.

Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman was named the Big Ten’s wide receiver of the year, and Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor took the conference’s running back award. Taylor and Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins shared First Team All-Big Ten honors at running back on both teams assembled by votes of the coaches and the media. Purdue’s Bryce Hopkins was named the Big Ten Tight End of the Year, and Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs was the conference’s Offensive Lineman of the Year.

A total of 10 Ohio State players were awarded All-Big Ten honors on the first, second or third tea, by the coaches and nine received the honors from the media. Joining Fields and Dobbins on the first team was offensive guard Jonah Jackson (coaches) and Wyatt Davis (media). The two players switched spots for the second team on the coaches and media All-Big Ten teams.

The Big Ten announced its defensive and special team honors on Tuesday.

Fields and Dobbins and the rest of No. 1 Ohio State will face Taylor and No. 8 Wisconsin in this weekend’s Big Ten championship game.

No. 12 Wisconsin sinks No. 8 Minnesota to clinch Big Ten West

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After giving up an early touchdown on the road with the division on the line, No. 12 Wisconsin (10-2, 7-2 Big Ten) proved to be far too strong for No. 8 Minnesota (10-2, 7-2 Big Ten) and dominated the upstart Gophers to the tune of 38-17. The win by Wisconsin clinched the Big Ten West and will send Wisconsin off to Indianapolis next weekend for a rematch with No. 1 Ohio State.

Leading 10-7 at halftime, Wisconsin took over full control after halftime with a 28-3 advantage. Quintez Cephus had a 47-yard touchdown catch down the middle of the field in the third quarter to open up Wisconsin’s lead to 17-7. After a Minnesota field goal, Wisconsin scored three-straight touchdowns, including two on the ground by Jonathan Taylor, before Minnesota could get back on the board. Taylor caught a touchdown pass in the first half as well to help Wisconsin take a lead into halftime. Taylor rushed for 76 yards and two touchdowns and had two catches for 39 yards and the go-ahead touchdown.

Wisconsin quarterback Jack Coan was solid for the Badgers as well, completing 15 of 22 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns. The defense was also a factor for Wisconsin. After giving up a long touchdown pass from Tanner Morgan to Rashod Bateman early in the game, the Badgers held Minnesota out of the end zone until well into the fourth quarter.

Wisconsin will now prepare for a rematch with the Buckeyes. Ohio State handled the Badgers earlier this season, 38-7 in Columbus. Next week will be the third meeting between Ohio State and Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game. Both of the previous meetings have been own by the Buckeyes. Ohio State shutout Wisconsin 59-0 in 2014 to help secure a spot in the College Football Playoff, which led to a national championship for the Buckeyes. Two years ago, in 2017, Ohio State topped the Badgers, 27-21. Ohio State has won back-to-back Big Ten championships and will look for the first three-peat in the Big Ten championship game era.

Minnesota’s next game is now in question. The gophers are still heading to a bowl game, but which one remains to be seen. A chance to play in a New Years Six bowl game may have just been eliminated, but Minnesota should be getting one of the more attractive non-New Years six bowl destinations the Big Ten has to offer. That may be impacted by what happens to Wisconsin next week as well. Wisconsin may not be a lock for a New Years Six spot if they come up short against Ohio State, although the Badgers heading to the Rose Bowl could help bump Minnesota’s bowl outlook.

Jonathan Taylor, Chuba Hubbard among semifinalists for Doak Walker Award

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Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor is attempting to do something that has only been done twice before by winning the Doak Walker Award in back-to-back seasons. Taylor was one of the 10 semifinalists revealed by the Doak Walker Award on Thursday, putting last year’s top running back one step closer to pulling off the rare feat on the college football award circuit.

Taylor will have some stiff competition for the award this season. Among the other semifinalists for the award include Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard, the nation’s rushing leader with 1,726 yards and 20 rushing touchdowns (Taylor has 1,463 yards and 17 rushing touchdowns in the same number of games as Hubbard).

Darren McFadden of Arkansas is the most recent player to win the Doak  Walker Award in back-to-back seasons, doing so in 2006 and 2007. The only other player to win the award in consecutive seasons, and the only other two-time winner of the Doak Walker Award, is Ricky Williams of Texas. Williams won the award in 1997 and 1998. Taylor joined former Wisconsin running backs Melvin Gordon (2014), Montee Ball (2012) and Ron Dayne (1999) to move Wisconsin into first place for most all-time Doak Walker Award winners. Texas also has four awards won, but by three players (Ricky Williams twice, Cedric Benson in 2004 and D’Onta Foreman in 2016).

The other semi-finalists for the Doak Walker Award this year include LeVante Bellamy of Western Michigan (21 touchdowns leads the nation), AJ Dillon of Boston College, JK Dobbins of Ohio State, Clyde Edwards-Helaire of LSU, Travis Etienne of Clemson, Kenneth Gainwell of Memphis, Xavier Jones of SMU, Zack Moss of Utah.