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AP Photo/Nati Harnik

2018 Heisman Candidate Countdown #2: Jonathan Taylor

The 2018 Heisman Trophy candidate countdown is down to its final two. Here’s the countdown to this point:


#25: Jalen Hurts

#24: Adrian Martinez

#23: Travis Etienne

#22: Shane Buechele

#21: Nick Fitzgerald

#20: Rodney Anderson

#19: Justice Hill

#18: A.J. Brown

#17: Damien Harris

#16: Drew Lock

#15: McKenzie Milton

#14: Khalil Tate

#13: Will Grier

#12: Justin Herbert

#11: Dwayne Haskins

#10: Shea Patterson

#9: Tua Tagovailoa

#8: Kelly Bryant

#7: Jarrett Stidham

#6: Jake Fromm

#5: D’Andre Swift

#4: J.K. Dobbins

#3: Trace McSorley


Jonathan Taylor stepped in as a true freshman and was immediately a stud workhorse running back for Wisconsin, finishing sixth in the Heisman voting. He figures to be in strong contention for the prestigious award again this season.


Why he can win it

In 2017, Taylor ran 299 times for 1,977 yards and 13 touchdowns as Wisconsin won the Leaders Division in the Big Ten for the second straight year. His 1,977 rushing yards set a new NCAA record for freshman, breaking the great Adrian Peterson’s mark. The Badgers love to run the football, and Taylor is likely to get at least a similar workload to the one he had last year, if not a few more carries per game. Taylor is simply an exceptional running back, as he’s big at around 5-foot-11 and 214 pounds but has track-star speed; also, his vision, acceleration, and tackle-breaking ability all stand out. Wisconsin has a long history of great running backs, and Taylor has quickly become one of them.


Why he won’t win it

Taylor wasn’t involved much as a receiver last season, catching only eight passes for 95 yards. If his role doesn’t increase much there, he’ll really need to put up monster rushing numbers with so many other strong candidates for the Heisman this year. Former Badger Melvin Gordon had 2,587 rushing yards and 29 rushing touchdowns as a senior in 2014, but it wasn’t enough to win the award—though he did finish second and Marcus Mariota had a magical season for Oregon that year. Wisconsin might need to win the Big Ten or at least their division again, which won’t be easy.


What needs to happen

Taylor must rush for over 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns, and he must have memorable performances in the toughest games on the schedule. Wisconsin needs to be as good as they were last season when they were in Playoff contention all year.


Stat projection

328 CAR | 2,230 RUSH YDS | 21 RUSH TD | 6.8 AVG

13 REC | 137 REC YDS | 1 REC TD | 10.5 AVG


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