Colorado Springs, CO – Sophomore Connor Taylor of Snow (UT) has been named the 2017 Spalding® NJCAA Defensive Player of the Year, announced by the NJCAA Football Committee on Wednesday. Taylor led the Badgers to 10 wins and a victory in the El Toro Bowl in 2017.
A force on the defensive front, Taylor led the NJCAA with 139 tackles on the year, including 75 solo stops. The Kaysville, UT native tallied 21 tackles for a loss and three sacks while forcing four fumbles during his 2017 campaign. For his efforts, Taylor was named to the NJCAA All-America first team.
Snow head coach Paul Peterson commended Taylor for his commitment to the Badger program. "Connor Taylor has been a game changing player and tremendous leader for our football team," Peterson stated. "He was extremely productive statistically. But more than that, Connor exemplifies, in all aspects, how a football player should be on and off of the field."
In 21 career games for the Badgers, Taylor accumulated 201 total tackles, including 30 for a loss. Snow won 17 games during Taylor's tenure that concluded with a No. 4 rank in the national polls following a 43-41 victory over No. 10 Blinn (TX) in the El Toro Bowl.
Taylor expressed his gratitude towards receiving the prestigious honor. "I feel very honored and grateful to receive this award. To me, this award represents countless hours of work on and off the field. I want to thank my parents for all of their love and support. I could not have achieved any of this without them. I have loved playing football since I was a kid, and am grateful for the opportunity that Snow College has given me to keep playing these past two seasons. I want to thank my coaches- they did a phenomenal job this season and provided me and my teammates with the opportunity to push ourselves, believe in each other, and work hard to attain success."
"I am grateful for the junior college experience which has given me the opportunity to grow so much as a player and as a person," Taylor added. "I had the best teammates this season, and together we accomplished so much. I would like to thank everyone who helped make this season a success, and helped me get to where I am now."
This is the second consecutive year a player from the Western States Football League (WSFL) has been named the defensive player of the year after Arizona Western's Patrick Macon was tapped in 2016.
About the Spalding® NJCAA Football Player of the Year Awards
Since 1990, the NJCAA Football Coaches Association has recognized the top football player in the country with the NJCAA Football Player of the Year award. The award was split into an offensive and defensive honor beginning in 2000. Spalding® partnered with the NJCAA in 2013 to become the title sponsor of both awards.
Spalding® in the Collegiate Football Market
Spalding® is currently the official football of the Arena Football League (AFL) – a distinction held since 2004. In the collegiate market, Spalding® is the official football of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (NCAA Div. I), the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference (NCAA Div. I), the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (NCAA Div. II) and the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NCAA Div. II). Spalding® is a trademark of Russell Brands, LLC.