Joe Thomas on Jonathan Taylor Heisman Snub: 'The Voting Obviously is Flawed'

Kristian Dyer

Joe Thomas can’t understand how Jonathan Taylor isn’t at least a Heisman finalist. Thomas, who in 2006 won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s top interior offensive lineman, says that the system needs to be re-evaluated when it comes to picking the finalists for the Heisman. 

It might just be blind love for his alma mater but Thomas argues that Taylor’s year at Wisconsin is stacking up to be one of the best in college football history. Taylor, who won the Doak Walker Award last year as the nation’s top running back, has 1,909 rushing yards and 21 rushing touchdowns this year. In addition, he has 209 receiving yards on 24 receptions and five receiving touchdowns. 

His resume, Thomas said, stacks up as well as any of the four Heisman finalists: LSU quarterback Joe Burrows, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts and Ohio State defensive end Chase Young. 

“I don’t understand it, it just doesn’t make sense to me. The voting obviously is flawed. If you don’t include one of the greatest running backs in college football history as a finalist in the Heisman – to me it’s almost malpractice,” Thomas said. 

“When you look at what he’s done for his career and to not be included as a finalist. There’s something wrong that needs to change.” 

Taylor’s year for their shared alma mater has Thomas a bit incredulous. The former Cleveland Browns left tackles was 10 times a Pro Bowl selection and made seven All-Pro lists. 

In college at Wisconsin, Thomas was twice an All-Big Ten selection. 

Taylor is second in the nation in rushing, behind Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard (But Taylor has a higher rushing yards per attempt). In addition, he tied for the top spot among all FBS running backs in rushing touchdowns. 

Among all running backs with at least 250 rushing attempts, he leads the nation with 6.4 yards per carry. The former four-star prospect out of New Jersey is a truly elite running back. 

Thomas chooses his words carefully when talking about Taylor, noting that he is necessarily a lock to win the coveted trophy as the nation’s top college player. But Thomas can’t understand how Taylor isn’t at least one of the four finalists for the away. 

“I wouldn’t go so far as to say he definitely should be the winner. He definitely should be a finalist and should be included as a potential winner because he’s done everything you possibly can at one of the most important positions in sports,” Thomas said. “And with a team that is going to the Rose Bowl, played in the Big Ten Championship and primarily relies on the running game in Jonathan Taylor.” 

Thomas spoke on Tuesday morning at the National Football Foundation’s (NFF) press conference; he was one of 14 inductees into ‘The 2019 College Football Hall of Fame Class Presented by ETT.’ 

On Tuesday night, Oregon quarterback Justin Hebert won the William V. Campbell Trophy from the NFF. The award recognizes "an individual as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership."