Rutgers had a player named to a seventh preseason award watch list on Monday, as senior Billy Taylor was included on the Patrick Mannelly Award watch list for the second straight year. This award is given to the best FBS senior long snapper each season.
Taylor has started at the position since his very first game as a true freshman during the 2017 season, spanning 45 straight contests in his Rutgers career. While performance as a long snapper is difficult to assess with statistics, Taylor has proven to be an extremely capable player on specials teams. Not hearing his name much during the season means he is not making mistakes. Rutgers fans have grown accustomed to not hearing Taylor’s name much at all because he has been so consistently good over the previous four seasons. He has handled every snap on all punts, field goals and extra points.
All-Big Ten punter Adam Korsak rightfully deserves a lot of credit for Rutgers ranking second in the Big Ten with a school-record net punt average of 42.27 yards last season. The reliable Taylor deserves credit though for allowing Korsak to focus on being as efficient as possible with his punts by setting up him consistently well with ball placement on snaps.
In 2020, Taylor won the Scarlet Knights’ Big Ten Sportsmanship Award and was a semifinalist for the 2020 William V. Campbell Trophy. The award recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership. Taylor is also a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and three-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar.
Ten semifinalists for the Mannelly Award will be announced on Nov. 15 and for the complete watch list that includes 31 long snappers, click here.
Other Rutgers players to be named to watch lists this preseason include Olakunle Fatukasi (Bednarik Award, Nagurski Award, Butkus Award), Bo Melton (Biletnikoff Award), Adam Korsak (Ray Guy Award) and Aron Cruickshank (Hornung Award).
For more on our preseason coverage of Rutgers football, click here.