Record-setting running back headlines EIU Hall of Fame class inductees

Record-setting running back headlines EIU Hall of Fame class inductees
J.R. Taylor will be inducted into the Eastern Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame this fall. (photo courtesy of EIU Athletics)

Productive standout J.R. Taylor headlines the latest list of inductees for Eastern Illinois University’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

According to a story on the EIU website, “Taylor was one of the most dominant running backs in Eastern Illinois football history during a successful time in Panther football history.”

Taylor played at EIU from 1999-2002. The Decatur, Ill. native was part of three straight FCS playoff teams.  Taylor finished his career with 3,705 yards, which ranks as the fourth highest total in school history.  As a senior in 2002 he led the OVC in rushing with 1,522 yards earning consensus first team All-American honors by the Associated Press, Walter Camp, Sports Network and Football Gazette. 

Taylor holds the school record for rushing yards in a game with 308 yards against Florida Atlantic in 2002.  A two-time first team All-OVC selection, he ended his career as the school’s career leader in rushing touchdowns with 51, a total that ranks third all-time in the Ohio Valley Conference. 

Taylor will be inducted next fall, along with four others including longtime sports information director Dave Kidwell.

Former safety enshrined at SIU

Alexis Moreland (photo courtesy of SIU Athletics)

(photo courtesy of SIU Athletics)

Former defensive back Alexis Moreland was enshrined as a member of Southern Illinois University’s 2017 Hall of Fame class this past January.

Moreland, who played safety from 2001-04, was a key figure during the resurgence of Saluki Football in the early 2000s. He was a three-time All-American, who ranks second in school history in career pass breakups (25), sixth in career tackles (358) and tied for 13th in career interceptions (8). His 235 career interception returns yards are the second most in program history and his 204 return yards in 2004 is a single-season record.

The Salukis were 20-4 during his junior and senior campaigns, winning a pair of conference titles and making two playoff appearances. Moreland was a finalist in 2003 for the Buck Buchanan Award, which goes to the nation’s best FCS defensive back. A member of SIU’s All-Century team, Moreland currently resides in Tallahassee, Fla., where he is CEO and founder of Evizion Media Group.

“I got the phone call and was more than excited, I was kind of relieved,” Moreland said on “I feel like I’ve come full circle. When I got here in 2001, Coach (Jerry) Kill had to sell us on the dream. The facilities were down, but he convinced us that we could build what we see here today in the culture at SIU. It’s just great to be back.”

ISU, WIU announcements coming later

Meanwhile, Illinois State University and Western Illinois University will announce their respective hall of fame classes later this year.

ISU, which is expected to name its newest inductees by early June, usually honors its hall of fame members in conjunction with homecoming.

WIU’s announcement will likely come late this summer.

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