#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