PFHOF Profile: Jason Taylor

Jason TaylorThere is generally only one proven path to the NFL and that is through the NCAA where big schools get the best players and prepare them for the next level.

There are plenty of criticisms of the NCAA system but right now it is the only way that a player can find their way to the league.

Getting to just that level can be a massive challenge for players though as they have to qualify on multiple levels to make an NCAA team.

They have to be a good student, not necessarily a top student but they do need to qualify to be a student in college.

Most of all though they need to be one of the top players in the country as there are a lot of kids playing football.

The big schools are looking for the best of those players and it can be a challenge for some just to get noticed among the massive amount of potential players.

Not all of the best players are discoverable that easily though and some end up walking on to a team or going to a much smaller school.

Then it becomes much tougher for one of the 32 teams in the NFL to find that player if they aren’t a part of one of the biggest programs.

It is a constant issue for a lot of players as so many get lost in between the cracks simply because they can’t get seen.

Getting noticed was not necessarily the issue for Jason Taylor but he was still lucky to get into a school.

That was because he was from a military family that couldn’t send him to a proper school simply because they moved too much.

During his teenage years, he was in Korea and his family decided that instead of sending him to a boarding school they would home school him.football-sidebar

That created an issue though as Taylor was unable to play organized sports while being home schooled until he moved back to Pittsburgh.

That is where he benefited from a program that allowed home schooled children to participate in their local high school sports teams.

He began playing but there were no real rules for home schooled kids to qualify for the NCAA.

Taylor was a great player in high school and there were teams that were interested in giving him a scholarship but there was so much unknown about home schooled kids receiving scholarships.

That became a major problem for his attempt to play at the next level as schools were unsure of what they might have to deal with when it came to the NCAA.

As a result, the major programs stayed away because they simply didn’t want to deal with the issues that he might bring.

Eventually, he simply went to school because the NCAA continued to deny his certification that allowed him to get a scholarship.

He enrolled at Akron while still fighting the NCAA to get that scholarship and to play for the Zips throughout his freshman year.

Partially through the season after government officials got involved he was finally allowed to play.

Jason+Taylor+Miami+Dolphins+v+Tampa+Bay+Buccaneers+lG9GYxpOy7ulThat turned out to be a big decision as he did great things in Akron and moved on to being one of the most dominant rush ends in the NFL.

He made an impact in the NCAA though as the issue that kept him without a scholarship to start his NCAA career is no longer an issue.

The NCAA put in place new rules to make it easier for home schooled kids to get scholarships and to outline the qualification steps needed for home-schooled players.

His influence wasn’t left at the NCAA level though as he changed the way the defensive line was built in the NFL.

For years the line was always a group of big men that were there to push around other big men and get to the quarterback.

Although Taylor was a big guy he certainly didn’t have the mass of many of the defensive lineman that he played alongside.

Instead, he used his speed rather than just his mass and strength to get to the quarterback.

It was the start of a new era in the league where rush ends began and are still taking over on the defensive side of the ball.

When looking at him up against other linemen he looked smaller but his speed around the edge made his size a non-factor.

As a result of the influence that he has had both in the NCAA and in the NFL, he became one of the best defensive ends of all time.

Now he will go into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot and will join the other great ends that have helped to evolve the pass rush in the NFL.

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