The Nittany Lion senior, who won the 165-pound title at the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships March 22 to go with his 2012 title at the same weight, was named winner of the 2014 Dan Hodge Trophy Tuesday, April 1.
The award, presented each year to the nation’s best college wrestler by WIN (Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine) for two decades, is the second for the Penn State mat star, who also won the honor in 2012.
Taylor is only the third wrestler to have won more than one Hodge Trophy, joining Missouri’s Ben Askren in 2006 and 2007, and Taylor’s college coach, Cael Sanderson, who, as an Iowa State wrestler, won the honor three times (2000-2002).
The Hodge -- referred to as "the Heisman Trophy of wrestling" by a number of media outlets -- has been presented each year by WIN and Culture House, a sports promotion company, since 1995. Both were founded by wrestling writer and historian Mike Chapman.
The award is named in honor of Dan Hodge, three-time NCAA champ for the University of Oklahoma who dominated opponents during his college career to a perfect record in the mid-1950s.
For the second year, WIN used broader selection process which included more than 40 wrestling media members, past collegiate coaches from the different parts of the country, wrestling dignitaries, and past Hodge winners, along with two votes from fans. Logan Stieber, Ohio State’s three-time NCAA champ, grabbed more than 50% of the more than 17,500 online fan votes.
Prior to last year’s change, recipients of the Hodge Trophy were selected solely by the WIN staff.
Taylor received a total of 167 votes, including 45 first-place votes. 141-pound champ Stieber placed second, with 107 votes, including 44 first-place ballots. Taylor’s teammate Ed Ruth, 184-pound titlewinner, was third, with 102 votes. Other vote-getters were Oklahoma State’s 174-pound champ Chris Perry (47 votes) and his teammate, 157-pound champ Alex Dieringer (20 votes), Illinois’ champ at 125, Jesse Delgado (2 votes), and Iowa’s 133 champ Tony Ramos and North Carolina’s heavyweight king, Nick Gwiazdowski, with one vote each.
“If I had to pick what people remembered of me, it’s that every time I stepped on the mat I tried to dominate the guys I wrestled,” said Taylor.
According to WIN, the Hodge Trophy is based on a wrestler's record, number of pins, dominance on the mat, past credentials, quality of competition and sportsmanship/citizenship and heart.
Taylor will be presented with the award at the Penn State wrestling awards banquet April 26.
The Hodge Trophy is the latest honor for David Taylor. Last week, he was named Wrestler of the Year by both InterMat and Flowrestling; at the 2014 NCAAs, he was selected the tournament's Outstanding Wrestler and named Most Dominant Wrestler of the 2013-14 season.
Want to know more about the Hodge? To read more about Dan Hodge and the trophy that bears his name, check out articles on the subject from College Wrestling Examiner. And for photos and info on "Dangerous Dan" -- including a gallery of Hodge Trophy winners -- visit Fans of Dan Hodge Yahoo group.
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