Stepfan Taylor: Getting to Know Stanford's Latest Heisman Contender

Lisa HornePac-12 and Big 12 Lead WriterSeptember 27, 2012

Stepfan Taylor
Stepfan TaylorEzra Shaw/Getty Images

Stanford has had some great athletes who have never won the Heisman. 

Remember Toby Gerhart? The Cardinal running back was the second-leading rusher in 2009 with an average of over 150 rushing yards per game. Alabama's Trent Richardson impressed the Heisman voters more. 

In 2010, Andrew Luck was one of the most gifted quarterbacks in the country. He looked like a lock for the Heisman, but along came Auburn's Cam Newton and Luck lost out.

Luck came back for another year at Stanford and was the favorite for the Heisman, but Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III came on strong late in the year and Luck went home empty-handed. 

The Cardinal can't catch a break, it seems. 

Perhaps it's because no one is watching Stanford's games. The Cardinal play on a Thursday night this week, and chances are not a lot of fans will watch. It's a shame, because Stepfan Taylor is the quintessential running back. 

He can run inside. He can run outside. He can catch the ball in open field. He's the perfect all-purpose yardage back. 

Taylor's field awareness and vision are phenomenal. Recognizing when a hole will open up and hitting it at the right time takes a special talent. It's not always speed that matters, although Taylor hits his holes fast and is hard to bring down. He's also got breakaway speed in the flat. 

The 5'11", 215-pound running back has had two consecutive 1,000-plus yardage seasons. Not a lot of hype was made over Taylor before this season started because it was assumed that the Cardinal would drop a notch after losing Luck and two offensive key linemen in David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin; all three were taken in the first two rounds of the 2012 NFL draft.  

Taylor is erasing all doubts. He destroyed USC two weeks ago. 

Will Heisman voters notice?