Written by: TJ Inman (@TJHoosierHuddle)
The Hoosier Huddle Countdown is more than halfway done! There is currently no #46 on the roster which gives us a perfect opportunity to complete the Top Ten of our Hoosier Legacy profile series. The final profile piece is IU legend George Taliaferro. The Tennessee native and former halfback/quarterback/punter had a remarkable career at IU and in the pros and his accomplishments definitely place him on any list of “all-time greats” for Indiana University.
George Taliaferro (Legacy Player)
-Weight: 196 pounds
-Hometown: Gates, TN
The only difficult thing about writing a profile piece on George Taliaferro is deciding what you can afford to leave out to keep the article from getting too long. George Taliaferro was born in January of 1927 in Gates, Tennessee. He came to Indiana and in four short years, the history of IU football was changed. Taliaferro starred in Bloomington as a multi-position dynamo, leading IU in rushing (twice), punting and passing. He was a three-time All-American and he led the Hoosiers during IU’s lone unbeaten Big Ten campaign.
Taliaferro was selected by the Chicago Bears, helping break the color barrier in sports. In a move that wasn’t nearly as puzzling at the time as it seems today, Taliaferro turned down the Bears to play for the Los Angeles Dons of the All-America Football Conference. That didn’t last as he switched to the NFL in 1950 to play for the New York Yanks and then the Dallas Texans and then the Baltimore Colts and finally the Philadelphia Eagles. He was no mere journeyman though, as he was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1951, 1952 and 1953. After his career, Taliaferro was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1981.
Taliaferro’s story goes far beyond the football field. The Indy Star’s Gregg Doyel wrote a tremendous column on the extremely interesting life that Taliaferro has led post-football (http://www.indystar.com/story/sports/columnists/gregg-doyel/2015/03/09/doyel-george-taliaferros-amazing-life/24651887/) and I highlight suggest reading that piece as soon as you are done with this article. There are so many amazing tidbits from a life lived. He still lives in Bloomington and his family has six degrees (his, his wife’s and his four daughters) from IU, “all because I was able to run very fast out of fear of being hit,” Taliaferro told Doyel. He opened the first Boys and Girls Club in Bloomington? He was used by Bob Knight to help recruit African-Americans when Knight arrived in Bloomington? He helped integrate a movie theater in Bloomington? Again, this guy has led a fascinating life…plus, he’s one of the greatest football players to ever don the Cream and Crimson. He’s also been a blessing in many ways to the Bloomington community and I’m proud he’s a part of the Hoosier family.
Please share any comments or thoughts in the comments section or in our message board. The countdown continues each and every day so make sure to check Hoosier Huddle daily as we churn towards the 2017 season!