Jonathan Taylor has cleaned out his locker and declared for the NFL Draft, putting his collegiate career rushing total at 6,174 yards. The yard, as you are well aware, is a unit of measure only found on a football field. Colloquially, it’s somewhere between ‘the land I have to mow’ and ‘a large amount of beer in a vertical glass’ in frequency of usage. Did you know we can convert football yards to miles by dividing by 1,760, thus getting a more common form of distance?
First, let’s create a route starting from Miss Forward on the Square down State Street to the top of Bascom Hill before we snake down the Dayton Street path to Camp Randall. We’ll then take Breese to Old University, crossing Campus Drive on the bridge to get to Observatory, the Lakeshore Path and finishing at Picnic Point. Our entire path is based on Ron Dayne’s 4.05 miles, but where do others in Badger history end up?
Tour Madison With Badger Rushing As Your Guide
|1||Ron Dayne||1999||4.05||Picnic Point|
|2||Jonathan Taylor||2019||3.51||1/3rd of Picnic Point Path|
|3||Montee Ball||2012||2.92||Lake Monona Boat Dock|
|4||Melvin Gordon||2014||2.79||Marching Band Field|
|5||Anthony Davis||2004||2.66||Lakeshore Path @ Nat|
|6||James White||2013||2.28||Near East Fields|
|7||P.J. Hill||2008||2.24||Agicultural Engineering Laboratory|
|8||Billy Marek||1975||2.11||Ramp Across Campus Drive|
|9||Brent Moss||1994||1.95||US Naval ROTC|
|10||Terrell Fletcher||1994||1.94||US Naval ROTC|
|11||John Clay||2010||1.94||US Naval ROTC|
|13||Larry Emery||1986||1.69||Camp Randall Gate 5|
|14||Rufus Ferguson||1972||1.6||McClain Athletic Facility|
|18||Michael Bennett||2000||1.12||Sterling Hall|
|19||Brooks Bollinger||2002||1||Van Vleck|
|24||Brian Calhoun||2005||0.93||Top of Bascom Hill|
|30||Mike Morgan||1977||0.77||Foot of Bascom Hill|
|37||Gary Ellerson||1983||0.63||Memorial Library & UW Bookstore|
|44||Bradrick Shaw||2019||0.53||City Bar|
|57||Tanner McEvoy||2015||0.4||Stop And Shop|
|75||David Gilreath||2010||0.25||Parthenon Gyros|
|89||Russell Wilson||2011||0.19||Noodles & Company|
I don’t think anyone would be surprised that of the top 11 rushers in Wisconsin history, only Billy Marek’s career ended before 1993. Between Barry Alvarez installing an affection for running the ball state-wide and playing in more games, the top of the list is dominated by those that toted the rock most recently.
My big takeaway is the amount of backs (and wideouts, and QB’s) that did a little bit. Nick’s to City Bar is not that far, but in those most iconic blocks of State Street you can find the 44th through 100th top rushers in Wisconsin history. Part of why college football is amazing is just how big it is in every dimension, and that includes how many Badgers ran for somewhere between a fifth and a half-mile. Some did it on end-arounds or QB draws, others got spot carriers in mop-up time for a few seasons before taking on a backup role.
Now, the career leader board.
College Football Career Rushing Leaders
|3||Donnel Pumphrey||6405||2013||2016||San Diego State|
|Jonathan Taylor||6080||2017||Ohio State||Wisconsin|
|9||Travis Prentice||5596||1996||1999||Miami (OH)|
|10||Archie Griffin||5589||1972||1975||Ohio State|
|13||LaDainian Tomlinson||5387||1997||2000||Texas Christian|
For reference, there are eight players that played in 2019 on the top 250 rushing totals, including Taylor. The next two closest, J.K. Dobbins and AJ Dillon had around 4500 yards. They are also pursing the NFL after three years. Only Travis Etienne and his 4038 career yards has a shot of catching him in 2020.
In other words, Jonathan Taylor was really good at football.