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Penn State Wrestling: Taylor Wins Hodge Trophy For Second Time

by on April 02, 2014 10:45 AM

Penn State Nittany Lion wrestler David Taylor added to his already massive legacy, winning the 2014 Dan Hodge Trophy collegiate wrestling's version of the Heisman Trophy.

Taylor, who recently capped off his career at Penn State with an unbeaten season and his second NCAA individual title, won the award for the second time.

This is only the third time that the honor has gone to the same wrestler twice in his career. Taylor joins his coach and three-time winner Cael Sanderson (2000-2002) and Missouri's Ben Askren (2006-07) as the only multiple-time winners in the two-decade history of the award, given annually to the most dominant college wrestler. He also won the Hodge in 2012.

The award, named after Oklahoma's three-time (1955-57) NCAA champion Dan Hodge, will be presented to Taylor at the team's banquet on Saturday, April 26.

"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. "I think Ed Ruth and myself we were the start of that change in the guard in wrestling. We started to change the sport, to go out and score points. I don't want to be remembered as the guy who won twice or lost twice (in the NCAA finals in 2011 and `13), but as one of the most dominating wrestlers in the history of college wrestling."

Taylor finished his career with a 134-3 record, including 50 pins, 42 technical falls and 29 major decisions.

"The way you compete is bigger than if you won or lost," Sanderson said. "This kid has a passion for wrestling and was an entertainer and was trying to score points the whole seven minutes. He wouldn't be a two-time Hodge winner if he didn't wrestle to dominate. And you wouldn't have that amount of success unless you competed the way David did and that was fearlessly."

Leaving Penn State as one of the most decorated wrestlers in history won't be easy for Taylor who has become a fan favorite over the years for his style of wrestling and success on and off the mat. And when your bitter rivals clap for you, it's hard not to be appreciative.

"I really appreciate all the support I've had in my career," Taylor said. "Sometimes it was difficult always having the target on your back, but it drove me to do what I did. After I won my fourth Big Ten title, everyone got up and applauded, including the Iowa fans. That meant a lot to me, and I just want to thank everybody. I just appreciate all the support I've been given over the years."

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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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