If you’ve been keeping up with the Hustle Hall of Fame over the last few weeks, you are aware of what’s happening. Fan voting has decided the first of two entrants for each MAC member to craft an inaugural Class of 2017 for the Hustle Hall of Fame. Next up to be inducted to the Hustle Hall of Fame is former member of the Akron Zips, Jason Taylor!
The road from the Mid-American Conference to the NFL is littered with broken dreams and hopefuls who never quite made it. Maybe a bit too short. Perhaps a tad too slow. Possibly way too inexperienced. When you’re paid millions of dollars to play a sport, owners and coaches have a right to be selective. For Jason Taylor, he went out and achieved immense success even if his path was non traditional and his metrics weren’t exactly perfect.
What did he do at Akron after being homeschooled for grades 10-12? Glad you asked. From his wiki:
While attending the University of Akron, Taylor was a four-year letterman and three-year starter for the Akron Zips football team. He recorded 279 tackles, 21 sacks, seven fumbles recovered, and three interceptions in his college career. He was a two-time first-team All-Mid-American Conference selection as a junior and senior, as well as an All-America pick as a junior. As a junior, he played weakside linebacker and moved to left defensive end as a senior. In 1996, he earned National Defensive Player of the Week honors for his performance against Virginia Tech when he posted 12 tackles, two sacks, two fumble recoveries, three stops for loss and tackled a punt returner in the end zone for a safety.
Taylor also started for the Akron Zips men's basketball team. In 2004, he became the third person ever inducted into Akron's Ring of Honor. He majored in political science and criminal justice.
A two sport star that made it to the Ring of Honor? Seems HHoF worthy to me, but Taylor was far from done. After his time at Akron, he would go on to a 15-year Hall of Fame NFL career with the Dolphins, Redskins, and Jets.
Taylor has won numerous awards throughout his career, including the 2006 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award and the 2007 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, the only league honor that recognizes both on-field achievements and off-the-field contributions. Taylor is also a six-time Pro Bowl selection (2000, 2002, 2004–2007), a four-time First or Second Team All-Pro (2000–2002, 2006), a two-time NFL Alumni Association Defensive Lineman of the Year (2005, 2006), and the NFL Alumni Association Pass Rusher of the Year (2000).
Perhaps most recently he’s remembered for his runner-up finish on Dancing with the Stars or his broadcasting work. Simply put, as has been the case throughout his career regardless of his forays, he is a winner and a great rep for Akron and the MAC.
Welcome to the Hustle Hall of Fame, Jason Taylor!