#20 Aaron Taylor: Notre Dame Football’s Top 25 Players

Aaron Taylor - Notre Dame OT
Photo provided by Fighting Irish Media

#20 Aaron Taylor, Tackle , 1990-1993

Aaron Taylor was born in San Francisco, but his parents sent him to play high school football for the legendary Bob Ladoceur at DeLaSalle in Concord in the East Bay.

Taylor was a high profile recruit and once Joe Moore locked on to him, it was a multi-year, albeit occasionally tempestuous tough love-hate relationship.

Taylor originally “made his bones” in the Sugar Bowl after the ‘91 season when the Irish shocked haughty Florida 39-28. There in the Superdome Jerome Bettis punched in three TDS against the proud Gator defense, and on two of them he followed the blocks of the sophomore right guard, Aaron Taylor.

Taylor had earned a great badge of honor: more pressure and vitriol from the salty Joe Moore. In ’92 Taylor keyed an offensive line that paved the way for the running backs to pound the opponents for over 289 rushing yards per game, led by Reggie Brooke with 1343 and Jerome Bettis with 825. The Irish scored 35 rushing touchdowns in ‘92.

For his senior year, ’93 Taylor was moved out to tackle. He was one of four Captains, one of the most elegant groups of Captains ever at Notre Dame: Aaron Taylor, Tim Ruddy, Bryant Young and Jeff Burris. The Irish line rallied to pave the way for the very adept Kevin McDougall after the Golden Child, Ron Powlus, was injured in the ’93 preseason.

Bettis and Brooks had gone on to the NFL, but the Irish still averaged over 260 yards per game rushing, scoring 36 touchdowns.

Taylor, Ruddy and their mates created openings for Lee Becton to finesse his way to 1044 yards, Randy Kinder for 537 and Ray Zellars for 494.

On the biggest stage, Notre Dame faced a Florida State team that some blasphemed was the greatest in college football history. They had presumptive Heisman honoree Charley Ward at quarterback but their defense was menacing, with the fierce Derrick Broooks as the mastermind at MLB, allowing only 93 rushing yards per game.

The Irish gouged the Garnet and Gold and battered Brooks, who limped off several times. Notre Dame wound up with 239 yards on the ground. Osceola that!

The Irish missed the national championship by losing to Tom Coughlin’s BC Eagles the following Saturday. But Taylor had distinguished himself at a school known for offensive linemen. He was the most effective blocker Joe Moore ever had at Notre Dame.

Taylor also garnered off-field honors, named as a first team consensus All-American in ’92 and ’93, while being awarded the coveted Lombardi trophy after the ’93 season.

#20 Aaron Taylor, Guard/Tackle, 1990-1993

#21 Nick Buoniconti, Linebacker/Guard, 1958-1961

#22 Ken MacAfee, Tight End, 1974-1977

#23 Bill “Moose” Fischer, Left Guard, 1945-1948

#24 Todd Lyght, Cornerback, 1987-1990

#25 Louis “Red” Salmon, Fullback, 1900-1903

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  1. Thanks for your comment. To be honest, when I slotted Taylor here I thought it would be criticized for either being too high or not belonging on the list.

    I don’t want to reveal the rest of the list, but perhaps we can revisit this dialogue later in the series. We may differ in evaluation on the last sentence in your post.

    The two positions that seemed to offer MANY players who could be on the top 25 list were running back and offensive line.

    Let’s keep the lines of communication open.

    Thanks again.

  2. Gotta say I would’ve thought Aaron Taylor to be higher on this list. Guard to Tackle is not specific enough. He went Guard to Tackle ON THE SAME SIDE OF THE LINE. That’s ludicrously difficult as the positioning, etc. is almost backwards from everything he already knew.
    Then he wins All-American at BOTH positions and the Lombardi at the NEW position. What lineman did more?
    There might have been better lines at ND, but no better individual lineman.

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