Wisconsin Badgers: Big 10 has next superstar RB with Jonathan Taylor

MADISON, WI - OCTOBER 14: Jonathan Taylor #23 of the Wisconsin Badgers runs with the ball in the second quarter against the Purdue Boilermakers at Camp Randall Stadium on October 14, 2017 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MADISON, WI - OCTOBER 14: Jonathan Taylor #23 of the Wisconsin Badgers runs with the ball in the second quarter against the Purdue Boilermakers at Camp Randall Stadium on October 14, 2017 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Wisconsin Badgers running back Jonathan Taylor has a chance to become the next greater running back on the college football and NFL Draft scenes.

All the conferences in NCAA Football set themselves apart with their unique characteristics. The Pac-12 fueled the famous West Coast offense that the NFL loves to use in their play calling. The SEC thrive each passing year in their hardline defensive mechanics.

The Big Ten is on the horizon of creating a new reputation for themselves with a string of top quality running backs who have recently come out of the conference, and Jonathan Taylor is the next big player from that thread.

Taylor’s first season with the Badgers was nothing short of incredible. His strength to break tackles through the trenches appears very similar to other great running backs, such as Adrian Peterson.

Taylor proved himself worthy of that comparison by breaking Peterson’s FBS rushing yard record during the 2017 Orange Bowl against the Miami Hurricanes.

Taylor finished with 1,977 yards from a freshman running back. Peterson held his position at the top for 14 years before Taylor quietly stole his reigning crown.

Stating that Taylor had a good year as a freshman would be an understatement. Along with the defense, Taylor had a big contribution towards Wisconsin’s first perfect regular season in school history.

Whether it was powering through for 13 rushing touchdowns, or catching passes out of the backfield, Taylor provided everything asked of him. His efficiency as a running back had speculation towards a Heisman Trophy candidacy.

Can Jonathan Taylor Live Up To Previous Wisconsin Stars?

Quite a few players from the University of Wisconsin have made a respectable reputation in professional football. Joe Thomas just retired as one of the most admired left tackles in recent history.

J.J. Watt has the potential to one day be in the Hall of Fame as one of the best defensive ends in NFL history.

Wisconsin has always been known for sculpting great offensive linemen. A rocksteady line opens up better passages for tailbacks to flourish, and the Badgers consistently embrace that truth.

Ron Dayne is the only Wisconsin Badgers running back to win the Heisman Trophy, but his NFL career fell short of critics’ expectations. Dayne still holds the record for most total rushing yards in NCAA history.

The legacy of Dayne’s running capabilities remains mostly at Camp Randall.

Another former Badger, Montee Ball, also experienced a very short-lived NFL career with the Denver Broncos. While Ball excelled in a Wisconsin uniform, the Broncos decided to move a different direction after two seasons.

It hasn’t always been bad luck in the NFL for Wisconsin running backs. Melvin Gordon is a tremendous contribution towards the Los Angeles Chargers’ offense. With Phillip Rivers and Keenan Allen connecting down the field, Gordon finishes the last piece of their offensive triplet.

Gordon rushed for over 1,000 yards in the 2017 season and has been hungry for more.

The Philadelphia Eagles running back committee has endless talent. Between Jay Ajayi, LeGarrette Blount, and Darren Sproles it can be easy to be lost in the mix. Corey Clement made a name for himself as an undrafted free agent in Philadelphia.

Clement played a crucial role in winning Super Bowl LII with over 100 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown.

Clement wasn’t the only Wisconsin alum to score a touchdown in Super Bowl LII. The New England Patriot’s young tailback James White also contributed in the highest-scoring game in Super Bowl history.

Just like Clement, White accumulated a touchdown for himself. White has not been shy of Super Bowl experience, as he won his first ring in Super Bowl LI against the Atlanta Falcons.

Taylor has high expectations after a record-breaking freshman year. Scouts are anticipating what Taylor is capable of this upcoming season. If he can break 2,000 rushing yards in a single season, all eyes will be on Taylor in Wisconsin.

The Potential of the Big 10 Conference

Comparing Taylor to a superstar such as Ezekiel Elliot is a badge of honor. So far Taylor has proven himself to receive that kind of accolade. Taylor is traveling the same path that two other Big 10 running backs have already journeyed towards their success.

Take a glimpse into the future, when Taylor is eligible for the NFL Draft. Taylor has the talent to be selected as a top-five pick. He has the same caliber of talent showcased by Elliot and Saquon Barkley. The similarities in all three players are uncanny.

Elliot was drafted out of Ohio State to the Dallas Cowboys in 2016. He shocked the audience by being selected as the fourth pick overall, despite Dallas already signing Alfred Morris in the offseason.

The Cowboys’ bold pick proved to be worth the shock and awe as Zeke has proven to be a dominant running back.

The New York Giants wisely chose Barkley out of Penn State in the first round in 2018. Scouts proclaimed that Barkley was a can’t-miss prospect that anyone who passed on him would be making a huge mistake.

The Cleveland Browns decided to ignore that warning, and Barkley was selected second overall instead.

The Magnificent Three

By the turn of the next decade, the three biggest stars could all come out of the Big Ten conference: Ezekiel Elliot out of Ohio State. Saquon Barkley out of Penn State. Jonathan Taylor out of the University of Wisconsin.

Hall of Famers such as John Elway, Troy Aikman, and Warren Moon paved the way for the Pac-12’s famous offense. Three young running backs could be creating their own history in the NFL very soon.

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If all three athletes reach their potential, it will forever restructure the Big Ten as we know it as the power five conference famous for their running backs.