2 national awards elude ASU's Taylor

Published 7 December 2017

Arkansas State University senior cornerback and return specialist Blaise Taylor attended two ceremonies Tuesday in New York City as a finalist for two awards that recognize college football players for exemplary achievements in academic success and community service.

Taylor did not capture either award, but he said the day was a tremendous experience.

"It was just a really big honor to be around so many great people, not just for football, but life in general," Taylor said. "I got to meet a lot of great guys that did a lot of great things and will do a lot of great things in the future."

"It was such a unique experience. Just to be nominated for these awards with these guys was really humbling."

Taylor is ASU's all-time leader in punt return yards and is the only current player in the Football Bowl Subdivision to earn both his bachelor's and master's degrees before the start of his true senior season. He and his sister, Starr, a sophomore guard on the ASU women's basketball team, created a nonprofit organization this year called "The Power of 1 or 2," which works with underprivileged, at-risk children.

Arkansas State senior cornerback Blaise Taylor

National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete

William V. Campbell Trophy Finalist

Wuerffel Trophy Finalist

Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award nominee

Senior CLASS Award nominee

Allstate AFCA Good Works Team nominee

Hornung Award Watch List

Taylor was one of three finalists for the Wuerffel Trophy, which is given to "the college football player who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement."

Tuesday morning at the New York Hilton Midtown Hotel, Kentucky senior linebacker Courtney Love won the Wuerffel Trophy. Love graduated in May with a degree in community and leadership development and is working on a second degree in communications. According to his Wuerffel biography, he "mentors area youth, especially those living in a one-parent household or children who have parents who are incarcerated."

Taylor also was one of 13 finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy -- also known as the "Academic Heisman" -- that's given to the "absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation." Taylor received an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship for being selected as a finalist.

Tuesday night, again at the New York Hilton, Virginia senior linebacker Micah Kiser won the Campbell Trophy. Kiser graduated with a bachelor's degree in foreign affairs in May and is now working on a master's in higher education. According to his biography, "following the riots in Charlottesville, Va., earlier this year, he was solely responsible for uniting the football team and initiating the idea of taking a team photo of the team locked arm-in-arm."

Taylor is among 20 semifinalists for the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award, given to the Division I player "who has demonstrated a record of leadership by exhibiting exceptional courage, integrity and sportsmanship both on and off the field."

Three finalists will be named Monday, and the winner will be announced at an awards ceremony Feb. 22 in Frisco, Texas. The winner also will have a $10,000 scholarship in his name donated to his school's athletic scholarship fund.

Sports on 12/06/2017