FROM AKRON TO CANTON Jason Taylor's road to Hall of Fame

Jason Taylor, who sacked Tom Brady more than more than any NFL player, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday in his first time as a finalist. He will become the first University of Akron player inducted into the Pro football Hall of Fame on Aug. 5. His road to Canton:

AKRON ZIPS

1993-97

Jason Taylor looked liked he could play small forward for the NBA's Miami Heat when he was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the third round of the 1997 NFL Draft. At 6-6, 220 pounds, he did play two seasons at forward for the Akron men's basketball team. He also blossomed into a dominant football player, setting the Zip career record for sacks (21). Zip is also how many times opponents wants to be hit by Taylor.

“People still say how skinny I am.”

Taylor was named Akron's defensive MVP as a junior in 1995 and earned first-team All-MAC honors in 1995-96. Also in 1996, he was awarded the team's Harry "Doc" Smith Award and the Akron Touchdown Club trophy as outstanding lineman. Akron's greatest football alumnus was inducted into Akron's Ring of Honor in 2004.

MIAMI DOLPHINS

1997-2007, 2009, 2011

Taylor played 233 NFL games over 15 seasons with the Dolphins, Washington Redskins (2008) and New York Jets (2010) but never in a Super Bowl. He also played hard — "relentless," he said. He told the Miami Herald in 2013 about the time he was only two hours from losing a leg.

“I had great coaches and amazing teammates. I was fortunate enough to get all the glory sometimes.”

Taylor won NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2006 recorded more sacks than any player from 2000-11. He finished his career with 139.5 sacks; 8 interceptions for 110 yards and 3 TDs; league record-tying 29 opponents’ fumbles recovered; NFL record 6 TDs on fumble recoveries; and 3 safeties. A four-time Dolphins MVP, he was voted to six Pro Bowls. He was named to NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s.

“It's a joy putting a smile on somebody else's face and helping somebody along their road to success.”

Taylor also won the Walter Payton Man of The Year in 2007 for his charitable work. He created a foundation in 2004 to benefit South Florida children through a variety of programs. His football camp has provided instruction to nearly 1,500 youth players. His mother, Georgia, often worked two jobs raising the family in Pittsburgh.

And which quarterback did he sack most during his career?

“C'mon, man, Tom Brady.”

Sources: University of Akron, Pro Football Hall of Fame, NFL.com and TCPalm.com; photos courtesy Akron Zips Athletics and Miami Dolphins

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Mike Bambach
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