Stellar offensive linemen have been a consistent in the course of the Notre Dame soccer program’s record. Of all the great past and current Irish offensive lineman, Aaron Taylor stands by yourself as the most effective to ever do it.
We continue our “Best Players in Notre Dame History” series by getting a glimpse at the significant boys up front. The offensive line pedigree of Notre Dame is regarded one of the most effective in higher education soccer — and for great rationale. The new success of gamers like Zack Martin, Ronnie Stanley, Mike McGlinchey, and Quenton Nelson has aptly specified the Irish the existing title of “Oline-U.”
On the other hand, even with the dominant perform of the gamers just shown, none of these names built the cut when it arrived to crowning the most effective hog molly in Preventing Irish record.
That title goes to Aaron Taylor.
I was unfortunately much too young to see Taylor perform in a golden helmet, but the legacy he left at the rear of was one that will make it difficult not to know who he is. Taylor was an aged-faculty monster in the trenches whose model of perform was that of a accurate highway-grader.
At 6-4, 305 lbs, Taylor’s athletic ability and expertise was clear early on in his vocation. In the memorable 1991 Sugar Bowl the place the Irish shocked Florida 39-28, Jerome Bettis punched in two of his 3 touchdowns at the rear of the blocking of the monster sophomore right guard.
In excess of his ultimate two seasons, Taylor would go on to garner All-American honors at two independent positions. As a junior in 1992, Taylor was a consensus All-American guard and followed it up with a unanimous initially-crew All-American selection in 1993 as a senior offensive tackle.
Taylor modeled regularity, and his production on the industry did was difficult to ignore. Beginning the ultimate 30 straight game titles of his vocation, he assisted pave the way for an Irish run game that averaged 275 yards for each game and tallied 71 rushing touchdowns from 1992-1993.
As a senior and crew caption in 1993, Taylor also won the Lombardi Award — specified to best higher education soccer player regardless of placement — based mostly on functionality, management, character, and resiliency.
Quite a few will level to Quenton Nelson as the greatest offensive lineman to ever strap it up for the Irish, and I undoubtedly get the argument. There are basically lots of similarities among Nelson and Taylor.
Both of those were being substantial-profile recruits who were being recruited by arguably the two greatest offensive line coaches in Irish record (Joe Moore and Harry Hiestand). Each were being snubbed of the Outland Trophy through their professions, however were being unanimous All-Americans. Both of those were being also initially spherical draft picks, with Taylor going to the Green Bay Packers with the 16th pick in the 1994 NFL Draft and Nelson going to the Indianapolis Colts with the 6th pick past yr.
Most importantly, they each experienced comparable enjoying models in that you felt sorry for whoever was lined up across from them on Saturdays in the tumble.
So why does Taylor get the edge? Very well, for starters, he did it initially. He was the initially experience of Irish offensive line excellence. On top of that, Taylor was the total deal who excelled at two different positions and was the anchor for one of the most effective stretches of Notre Dame soccer in the past 3 a long time, going 40-8 with two Cotton Bowl victories and a Sugar Bowl victory from 1990-1993.
There are lots of deserving names that could have been picked for this title, but Aaron Taylor is the Greatest Of All Time when it arrives to the Notre Dame offensive line.
- Quenton Nelson: a shut 2nd at the rear of Taylor, Massive Q finished his vocation as a unanimous All-American and was one of the most hyped-up interior offensive lineman in new NFL Draft memory. He finished his rookie year as a Pro-Bowler and initially-crew All-Pro.
- Zack Martin: An all-time Irish lover favorite, Martin never ever skipped a begin in his Irish vocation, location a faculty history with 52 starts underneath his belt when it was all stated and performed. He was a two-time crew captain that has long gone on to become a initially-crew All-Pro 3 instances in his young NFL vocation.
- George Connor: An underrated player in this discussion, Connor was a two-time consensus All-American, the initially ever winner of the Outland Trophy, a crew captain, and two-time Nationwide Winner for the Irish. He never ever lost a game at Notre Dame and is a member of both of those the College or university Football and NFL Hall of Fames.
Some others Considered:
- Jeff Faine, Sam Young, Ronnie Stanley, Mike McGlinchey
Do you agree? Why or why not? Test out @SlapTheSign on Twitter to solid your vote as to who you consider is the most effective Irish offensive lineman of all-time!