Tennessee redshirt senior outside linebacker Darrell Taylor has been named to yet another preseason watch list for an annual college football award.
Taylor has officially been named to the preseason watch list for the Nagurski Trophy. The annual award is given to the top defensive player in college football every season as voted on by the Football Writers Association of America. Kentucky’s Josh Allen won the award last season.
The redshirt senior linebacker had a breakout performance in 2018, totaling 36 tackles, eight sacks, 11 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. Taylor had monster performances in two SEC games, racking up three sacks and two forced fumbles against Georgia on the road and tied a school record with four sacks in a game against Kentucky in the Vols’ upset victory over the Wildcats. He also totaled six tackles, three tackles for loss, and a sack in Tennessee’s season finale against Vanderbilt.
Despite all that and his inclusion on three prestigious watch lists, Taylor wasn’t named to any of the preseason All-SEC defensive teams at SEC Media Days last week.
Tennessee has never had a player win the Nagurski Trophy, but three Vols have been named finalists for the award. Al Wilson (1998), John Henderson (2000), and Eric Berry (2009) were all finalists for the award.
Taylor is one of five Vols to be named to preseason award watch lists so far. He has two watch lists to his name, and he’s joined by four other Vols who have appeared on one watch list apiece. Redshirt junior quarterback Jarrett Guarantano was named to the Maxwell Award watch list, junior running back Ty Chandler was named to the Doak Walker Award watch list, senior tight end Dominick Wood-Anderson was named to the John Mackey Award watch list, and offensive lineman Brandon Kennedy was named to the Rimington Trophy watch list.
In his career, Taylor has appeared in 30 games and has totaled 72 tackles, 11 sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and three passes defended.