NFL bound: UW star Jonathan Taylor declares for draft

Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor (23) carries the ball away from Nebraska linebacker Mohamed Barry, left, during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Wisconsin football star Jonathan Taylor declared for the 2020 NFL Draft on his Instagram account on Friday night.

Taylor thanked the university, his teammates, fans and coaches.

"I don't know what the future may hold, but I'm excited to go all in and dive in head first," Taylor said in the video he posted from his Instagram account.

A two-time Doak Walker Award winner and two-time unanimous first-team All-American, Taylor will go down as one of the greats to ever play the position. He finished his career with 6,174 rushing yards and 55 total touchdowns to highlight a collection of accomplishments and records almost too long to list.

"As impressive as JT’s accomplishments have been on the field, I have been even more impressed by how he has done it," said UW head coach Paul Chryst. "He will rightly be discussed as one of the best running backs in college football history.

The first player in FBS history to rush for 6,000 yards in just three seasons, Taylor stands No. 6 all-time in rushing with his 6,174 career yards. That total represents the FBS record for most yards in a three-year span -- by a margin of more than 500 yards over the second-place total.

Taylor finished his junior season with 2,003 rushing yards to become just the third player in FBS history with multiple 2,000-yard rushing seasons, joining Badgers legend Ron Dayne and Iowa State's Troy Davis. Taylor is the only FBS player to record three consecutive seasons of 1,900-plus yards.

His combined 4,197 yards over his sophomore and junior seasons are the most by any player in a two-year span in FBS history, breaking the previous mark of fellow Badger Melvin Gordon (4,196, 2013-14).

"I've been able to live out a dream over the last three years by being a Badger, and now I'm excited to dive in and chase another dream of playing in the NFL," Taylor said. "I made it my goal to help raise the bar here, and thanks to my teammates, my coaches and everyone that supports us, I feel like we've been able to do that.

Taylor also ranks No. 2 all-time in the FBS with his 12 career 200-yard games. Only Dayne (14) has recorded more. His 32 100-yard performances trail only Dayne (33) and Memphis' DeAngelo Williams (34) among FBS players all-time.

His career average of 150.6 rushing yards per game ranks in a tie for No. 5 all-time in the FBS.

He is the only player in UW history to twice be named a unanimous first-team All-American.

Now, he'll look to join the Badgers' recent backfield tradition in the NFL. Wisconsin has sent at least one running back or fullback to the league in six of the last seven seasons.

Taylor looks to be the first UW tailback selected in the NFL draft since Montee Ball (2013), James White (2014) and Melvin Gordon (2015) were drafted in three consecutive seasons. Derek Watt also was selected as a fullback in 2016.

White and Gordon combined with 2017 free agent signees Corey Clement and Dare Ogunbowale to give Wisconsin four tailbacks in the NFL this season. Fullbacks Watt and 2019 undrafted free agent Alec Ingold made it six former UW running backs in the league.

"I'm proud of what we've accomplished and I'll cherish the bonds that we've built. We’re a family, and I'll always be a Badger," Taylor said.