Aaron Taylor never thought he’d be in the College Football Hall of Fame.
He also didn’t expect to play on three national championship teams, win the Outland Trophy and become the only Husker to be named an All-American at two positions.
Heck, the all-time great Husker offensive lineman barely expected to become a Division I athlete.
“The College Football Hall of Fame fraternity for me is something I never expected,” Taylor said in an interview with the National Football Foundation. “It’s humbling. It’s exciting. It almost gets me tearful at times thinking about it. I think, the reason being, this is something I never thought was going to happen to me. I was just a Texas kid that was barely on the cusp of getting a scholarship into college athletics, and here I am some 25 years later.”
Taylor was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday. He is the 18th Husker player to earn the honor and the 24th overall when including coaches.
Since 2006, Mike Rozier, Grant Wistrom, Will Shields, Tommie Frazier and Trev Alberts have joined the hall. Taylor is the fourth of Nebraska’s eight Outland Trophy winners to reach the hall, joining Rich Glover, Dave Rimington and Will Shields.
“It’s humbling to be in the hall of fame with the likes of Trev Alberts, Grant Wistrom, Will Shields, Coach Osborne,” Taylor said. “When I came to the university, I wanted to be a Dave Rimington. I wanted to be a Will Shields. And those guys were All-Americans and Outland Trophy winners, and went on to have wonderful careers in the NFL. To be put in that same fraternity as them, it’s extremely exciting for me.”
The Huskers went 49-2 during Taylor’s career, including undefeated national championships in 1994, 1995 and 1997. Taylor garnered numerous awards and honors, but what does he remember from his playing days? Most of all, the few mistakes.
“The two losses still haunt me big time,” Taylor said. “I can tell you the sites and sounds of when I snapped the ball past Scott Frost in the Arizona State game down there in Tempe. The roar of the crowd, the smells, the disappointment and the, ‘Oh, I just did that’ — I could say a few other words.
“You remember all of these things in those losses. Yeah, I can tell you when we beat the pants off Florida in the national title game, but I can’t remember specifics. It was 62 to 30-something, but I can remember the 19-0 loss versus Arizona State. I can remember the Texas loss in ’96 in the Big 12 championship game.”
The only @HuskerFBNation player in history to earn All-America honors at two different positions, Aaron Taylor (@outland1997) led the Huskers to 3 undefeated, national championship seasons. He becomes the 18th player from Nebraska to be inducted into the @cfbhall. #ImaRealFan pic.twitter.com/LA47DHCb2v
— CFB Hall of Fame (@cfbhall) December 4, 2018
Taylor’s lasting impression of his time with Nebraska, though, is Tom Osborne’s relationship with his players — on and off the playing field, and long after their time in Memorial Stadium.
“Playing for Coach Osborne was something that myself and many, many players over his 25 years cherish. He’s a second father to many of us, and not only is he your coach, but he’s also an off-field mentor.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re an All-American or if you’re a walk-on from western Nebraska, he’s going to care about you and hold you to the same standards.”
You can watch the full interview at the top of the article or at the National Football Foundation’s website.