NEW YORK, NY. (WMTV) -- In the midst of another historic season for Wisconsin, Wisconsin Badgers' running back Jonathan Taylor's biggest flaw for Heisman voters may have been not playing quarterback instead.
Three of the four finalists for the award are all quarterbacks: Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts, LSU's Joe Burrow and Ohio State's Justin Fields. Another Buckeye, defensive end Chase Young rounded out the the field.
Taylor, who was already named the Big Ten's top running back, had built a solid resume for college football's most prestigious award, having amassed 1,909 rushing yards so far this season along with 209 receiving yards and five touchdown receptions.
As an athlete much bigger than the numbers he's amassed, though, Taylor is the most dangerous back in the nation with 4.2 speed and a 5'11", 220 lb frame.
While JT had put together a resume for being selected to go to New York for the award ceremony all season long, his past five games were hoped to have been the punctuation marks for his Heisman case:
- 31 carries, 205 yards in a 24-22 win over over Iowa
- 25 carries, 204 yards and 2 touchdowns for a 37-21 win at Nebraska
- 28 carries, 222 yards and one touchdown in a 45-24 win vs Purdue
- 18 carries, 76 yards and 2 touchdowns, 2 receptions for 39 yards and another score in a 38-17 win over Minnesota to win the Big Ten West
- 20 carries, 148 rushing yards and one touchdown in a 34-21 loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship game, where Taylor became the first player this year to rush for over 100 yards against the Buckeyes.
There are four Heisman Trophy finalists and Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor with his 1,909 and nation's leading 26 touchdowns is not among them. Trip to NYC or not, JT is still one of the baddest dudes in the game. pic.twitter.com/pDRiCcx9IC— George Balekji NBC15 (@GeorgeBalekji) December 9, 2019
During that span, the Salem, New Jersey native has averaged 180 rushing yards per game with seven touchdowns overall.
Aside from what the 2018 Doak Walker award winner has done behind his blockers, Taylor's compliment to his game has been his improved receiving skills. Entering 2019 with just 16 career receptions, Taylor has hauled in 24 passes so far for 209 yards and five touchdowns, adding another lethal threat to Wisconsin's offense.
Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor and Ohio State’s JK Dobbins sharing a moment after the Big Ten Championship game. JT with a simple message to all the Buckeyes that came up to him, “Bring that thing home to the Big Ten.” #Badgers pic.twitter.com/cewQsUCh5W— George Balekji NBC15 (@GeorgeBalekji) December 8, 2019
With all that Taylor has done, he still has another mountain to climb to win the Heisman as it has become a de facto quarterback award, as the last three winners have all played under center. It has been awarded to a running back just once since 2010, which was Alabama's Derrick Henry in 2015.
The winner will be announced Saturday, 7 p.m. CT on ESPN from New York City.