David Taylor is the type of athlete who is a generational talent, someone who can easily change the whole dynamic of a sport.
Though his name may not be as known as the likes of LeBron James or Patrick Mahomes, the mastery Taylor has shown is no different.
Since his teenage years, Taylor has been a force to be reckoned with. Whether it’s state titles, national championships or international medals, he can go toe to toe with anyone in the world.
As a high schooler, Taylor posted a 180-2 combined record over four years. On top of that, the St. Paris, Ohio, native won four consecutive state championships.
Predictably, Taylor emerged as the top-ranked recruit in the class of 2009 and verbally committed to Iowa State. He flipped his commitment to Penn State, however, after Cael Sanderson was named the program’s next head coach.
Taylor’s commitment and the hiring of Cael Sanderson changed the course of Penn State wrestling since.
The Nittany Lions have gone on to win eight team national championships since the wrestler-coach duo came to Happy Valley.
As the top-ranked recruit in any sport, there is pressure to perform well since the expectations are so high. Taylor was no different.
He quickly lived up to the hype after winning his first Big Ten title as a redshirt freshman and winning his first national title the following season.
Taylor never lost to another Big Ten wrestler in his entire collegiate career, finishing with a record of 134-3. He ended as a two-time national champion and two-time Hodge Trophy winner.
After graduating from Penn State, Taylor made a name for himself in the national and international wrestling scene almost immediately.
In 2014 — the first year after he graduated — Taylor finished second in the U.S. Team Trials and second at the U.S. Open.
It didn’t take much longer for Taylor to start dominating in not only the United States but the entire world too.
Though Taylor had found success in the past, 2017 was his breakout year. He won the U.S. Open, the Wrestling World Cup and the Paris International Championship.
He hasn’t looked back since 2017: Taylor went on to win a Pan American title and the World Championships in 2018.
Most recently, Taylor qualified for the U.S. Olympic national team in April in the 86-kilogram weight class. He went against former Penn State wrestler Bo Nickal for the spot.
Taylor is not a stranger to the international stage. His prowess on the mats will certainly be useful this summer as he looks to add an Olympic gold medal to his already long list of accolades.
MORE SPORTS COVERAGE