FootballScoop is proud to announce that Lance Taylor is the 2015 FootballScoop Running Backs Coach of the Year presented by ProGrass.
Put simply: Taylor's star pupil put together one of the most complete seasons in college football history.
After a 300-yard, no-touchdown debut season, Christian McCaffrey absolutely exploded in 2015. The sophomore ranked fifth nationally with 319 carries for 1,847 yards and eight touchdowns.
McCaffrey's 24.54 carries per game were the fifth most in college football and accounted for 55.4% of the Cardinal's total rushes. McCaffrey saved his best efforts for the brightest moments, popping off for 243 yards and four touchdowns in a 56-35 win over UCLA in October, 94 hard-fought yards in a 38-36 defeat of Notre Dame, and 207 yards in a Pac-12 Championship stomping of USC.
Impressive as he was as a running back, McCaffrey was much, much more than that. He caught 41 passes for 540 yards and four touchdowns, returned 14 punts for 67 yards and totaled 1,042 yards and one touchdown on 36 kickoff returns. As if that wasn't enough, McCaffrey even completed 2-of-3 passes for 39 yards and two touchdowns.
McCaffrey's season crested in a Picasso of a performance in the Pac-12 Championship against USC, a night in which he rushed 32 times for 207 yards and one touchdown, caught four passes for 105 yards and a touchdown, returned two punts for 29 yards and five kickoffs for 120 yards, and completed an 11-yard touchdown pass.
McCaffrey finished the regular season with 3,496 all-purpose yards, with one more game to go, which was good enough for him to claim the FBS all-purpose yardage record away from Barry Sanders, to finish second in the Heisman Trophy voting, and to win the Associated Press Player of the Year award.
Speaking of Sanders, his namesake son was the Cardinal's second-leading rusher this fall with 49 carries for 313 yards and four touchdowns. Freshman Bryce Love rushed 28 times for 228 yards and two scores, and Remound Wright poured in 77 carries for 209 yards and 13 touchdowns. Sanders, Love and Wright also combined to catch 21 passes for 308 yards and four touchdowns. As a team, Stanford finished 18th nationally with 225.1 rushing yards per game and tied for 16th with 32 touchdowns.
The 2015 season marked Taylor's second on The Farm. Prior to that Taylor spent one season coaching for the Carolina Panthers and three with the New York Jets. He coaching career began as a graduate assistant on Nick Saban's original Alabama staff from 2007-09, then coached wide receivers at Appalachian State in 2009. Taylor walked on at Alabama and saw action in 38 consecutive games from 1999-03, then forged a career as a wide receiver in the Arena Football League.
The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards presented by ProGrass are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. The finalists (Jay Graham [Florida State], Deland McCullough [Indiana], Andre Powell [Pittsburgh] and Taylor) were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. The prior winners selected this year's winner.
Taylor will receive his award and be recognized at an event at the AFCA Convention in January.
Previous winners of the Running Backs Coach of the Year award are Burton Burns (Alabama, 2008), Willie Taggart (Stanford, 2009), Jim Mastro (Nevada, 2010), Frank Wilson (LSU, 2011), Calvin Magee (Arizona, 2012), Jeff Lebby (Baylor, 2013) and Bryan McClendon (Georgia, 2014).
18th Nationally - Rushing Yards
FBS All-Purpose Yardage Record
16th Nationally - Rushing TD's
AP Player of the Year
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