MADISON — Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor is taking his talents to the track.
The junior was not at football practice Tuesday morning, leaving many to wonder where the Heisman Trophy candidate was. Afterwards, a UW official said that Taylor’s absence was due to the fact he’d joined the Badgers track and field team for its final few meets of the season.
Taylor started track practice this week and is expected be a part of Wisconsin’s 4×100-meter relay team. He’s slated to make his debut this weekend at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia. After that, he’s expected to take part in the UW Alumni Classic on May 3 and then the Big Ten Championships in Iowa City the following weekend.
Any fan that has watched a Wisconsin game on TV the last two years, knows Taylor ran track in high school, winning back-to-back New Jersey state titles in the 100-meter dash. His best time — and the top time in the state for 2017 — was 10.49-seconds.
The football program gave Taylor its blessing in missing the final three practices of spring. Though he was at the first 12, his production (4,171 yards rushing in two years) and importance had led to almost zero involvement during full-contact team drills. It’s believed there had been mutual interest between Taylor and the track program to make this happen for some time and it just happened to work out this year.
Taylor is not the first player to do both football and track. A couple of former Badgers, running back Michael Bennett and wide receiver Tony Simmons, are among a number of high profile guys to have run track during their careers. Simmons won Big Ten titles in the 100-meter and 200-meter races, while Bennett set a school record (since broken) in the 100-meter dash.