Mike Taylor Named to Academic All-District First Team
AMHERST, MA – College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) announced today its 2009 Academic All-District Football Teams, which are presented by ESPN the Magazine. Amherst College senior inside linebacker Mike Taylor (Evanston, IL) represents the Lord Jeff football program by earning a spot on the All-District First Team for District 1.
As an economics major with a cumulative GPA of 3.60, Taylor was selected for his academic success, his athletic achievements from the 2009 season and his career highlights on the football field. Of the 25 student-athletes named to the District 1 First Team, Taylor is one of only 11 defensive players, one of three linebackers and one of four NESCAC students honored, joining James Millard and David Reed of Middlebury, as well as Wesleyan’s Pete Sugarbaker.
This marks the second consecutive year an Amherst football players has been named to the All-District Team, as Sam Rudman ’09 earned the honor in 2008. Taylor is now eligible for the Academic All-America Team, which will be announced Tuesday, Nov. 24. Three Lord Jeff football players have earned Academic All-America status in the program’s decorated history: John Tucci ’87 (1986, First Team), Fletcher Ladd ’04 (2003, Second Team) and Paul Whiting ’04 (2003, First Team).
Taylor has twice been named NESCAC Defensive Co-Player of the Week this season, with his 71 total tackles leading the NESCAC and ranking him 12th in Division III in tackles per game (11.83). Taylor also leads the conference in forced fumbles (3), is fifth in tackles-for-loss (9.5) and is among the league leaders in sacks (4.0). He has led the Lord Jeffs in total tackles in five of six games this year, twice recording 16 tackles.
His outstanding senior season has made Taylor a strong candidate for NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year, but he is no stranger to standing out on defense. As a junior, Taylor led Amherst in tackles (59), interceptions (3) and pass breakups (6), adding 5.0 TFL and 2.0 sacks. He also recorded 33 tackles (16 solo), 3.5 TFL, one sack and two breakups in only six games as a sophomore.
Thanks in large part to Taylor, the Lord Jeffs lead the NESCAC in scoring defense (8.3 ppg) and turnover margin (+8) and lead all of Division III in rushing defense (32.5 ypg), sacks per game (5.3) and red zone defense (42.9 percent). Amherst’s opponents have been held scoreless in their past six trips to the red zone.
Taylor and the Lord Jeffs will be put to the test this Saturday when they put their undefeated record on the line against Trinity College (5-1) at 12:30 p.m. Amherst has not defeated the Bantams since 2001. Saturday’s game will feature live audio and video courtesy of JeffCast, and will also feature live statistics.
A complete list of the 2009 Academic All-District honorees can be found on the CoSIDA Web site.