David Taylor has completed his Penn State wrestling career with his second NCAA title, four Big Ten championships, and numerous awards and trophies. Now the St. Paris, Ohio wrestler can add yet another honor: being named 2014 Penn State Male Athlete of the Year on Tuesday.
Volleyball player Deja McClendon was selected as the school’s Female Athlete of the Year.
Taylor becomes the second consecutive Nittany Lion wrestler to have earned Athlete of the Year honors, as teammate Ed Ruth received the award in 2013.
By any measure, Taylor just wrapped one of the most impressive collegiate wrestling careers. He became Penn State’s first four-time NCAA finalist, winning the 165-pound title in 2012 and 2014. In addition, he was the Nittany Lions’ first four-time Big Ten champ (Ruth accomplished the same achievement minutes later at the 2014 Big Tens). What’s more, he was the only Division I wrestler to complete this season undefeated at 34-0, for an overall career record of 134-3.
Perhaps even more impressive was Taylor’s career dominance. He scored 53 pins, 42 technical falls, and 30 major decisions. That means 125 of his 134 college wins resulted in bonus points for the Nittany Lions. What’s more, Taylor never lost a dual meet, and was a perfect 56-0 against Big Ten rivals.
Taylor’s on-the-mat success resulted in numerous honors and awards. He won the 2014 Hodge Trophy as the nation’s top college wrestler (to accompany the one presented in 2012) and was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Year for the third time. Taylor was presented with the Outstanding Wrestler award for his performance at the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, and NCAA Most Dominant Wrestler Award for the 2013-14 season. If that weren’t enough, Taylor was named Wrestler of the Year by both InterMat and Flowrestling.org.
The model of a well-rounded athlete, Taylor also earned accolades for his performance in the classroom. He was a four-time member of the Academic All-Big Ten, NWCA First Team All-Academic four-timer, and Capital One First Team Academic All-American.
Taylor and McClendon will be on the ballot for Big Ten Athletes of the Year with 22 other nominees. Selected members of the media who regularly cover each Big Ten institution will vote for the winners of the awards.
Taylor isn’t the only Big Ten wrestler to be selected as his school’s Male Athlete of the Year. Ohio State named three-time NCAA champ Logan Stieber for the honor on Tuesday.