Jonathan Taylor's career as a Badger is now over, as the junior running back announced on social media on Friday night that he will forego his senior year and declare for the 2020 NFL Draft.
Taylor finishes his career as one of the greatest backs not just in Wisconsin history but in college football lore. A two-time unanimous first-team All-American, two-time Doak Walker Award winner and two-time Ameche-Dayne Big Ten Running Back of the Year, the New Jersey native ran for 6,174 yards on 6.7 yards per carry and 50 rushing touchdowns.
He earned the distinction of being the seventh player in the history of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) to accumulate 6,000 rushing yards. However, Taylor achieved the feat in only three seasons, the first person to do so in that timeframe.
Wisconsin listed the FBS records set by the Salem, N.J., native in the same press release:
• Rushing yards by a freshman: 1,977
• Rushing yards by a sophomore: 2,194
• Rushing yards by a player through his sophomore season: 4,171
• Rushing yards by a player through his junior season: 6,174
• Rushing yards in any two-year span: 4,197
• Rushing yards in any three-year span: 6,174
"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 in a statement released by UW on Friday evening. "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.
"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."
In 2019, Taylor rushed for 2,003 yards on 6.3 yards per attempt and 21 touchdowns on way to his third consecutive, consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection. On top of that, he enhanced his presence in the offense with becoming a pass-catching threat -- reeling in 26 passes for 252 yards and five receiving scores.
His 26 total touchdowns led the nation.
"As impressive as JT’s accomplishments have been on the field, I have been even more impressed by how he has done it," Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst in the same press release. "He will rightly be discussed as one of the best running backs in college football history.
"But what I will remember most about being around him is how he handled himself and how much he cared about his teammates. He is truly humble, always working to get better and cares a ton about this program. He gave everything he had to maximize his opportunity in college and I wish him all the best as he moves into the NFL."
In Wisconsin's record books, he ranks second all-time in school history in rushing yards behind Ron Dayne and second in yards per carry behind Melvin Gordon (6.67).
When speaking with reporters on Dec. 19, before Taylor officially declared but with the writing on the wall, redshirt senior Chris Orr said he will remember Taylor not just for the accomplishments on the field.
"The type of person he is. The friendship that me and him have developed," Orr said. "He's truly, truly the most humble person that I've ever come across. If you met him and didn't know him, you wouldn't think he is who he is, and I've said that since Day One.
"I will remember him more so as my little nephew, my little brother, whatever the case is, more so off the field than on the field. But definitely going to remember what he did on the field. Truly special to witness the greatest college running back ever."