This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.
MOST MEMORABLE HITS IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL
NO. 3, TWO CAREERS END ON ONE HIT
There have been many crushing, huge memorable hits in college football history. Very, very few ended the careers of both players involved.
Michigan safety Daydrion Taylor and Penn State tight end Bob Stephenson met near the sideline during a 1997 game. The impact knocked Stephenson out and left Taylor unable to feel his legs. It's a hit that's impossible to forget.
Of all the huge hits we've seen, and we'll mention a few more near the end of this post, none were quite like this one. The sickening smack when Taylor put his head down and made impact, the way Stephenson's whole body jolts back, the way both players fall limp to the ground ... it's the kind of hit that many football fans love, but had an enormous physical impact on both men involved.
There's a reason the Big Ten Network had an eight-minute feature on the hit, 15 years later.
"It’s got to be the hardest hit I’ve ever witnessed," Michigan cornerback Charles Woodson, who has played 15 NFL seasons, told the Big Ten Network.
"Probably as hard a hit as I’ve been around," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said on the BTN feature.
The hit would probably be a penalty today, and the changes to protect players are another reason this hit may never be replicated in college football. Which isn't a bad thing.
Stephenson said he was diagnosed with a grade 3 concussion, and he didn't even get the worst of it. Taylor, a junior at the time, was told when he got back to Ann Arbor that he needed neck fusion surgery and would be in a halo to stabilize his neck. That was the last play for both players.
Showing the pull the game of football has on those who play it, both are still involved in the game that produced such a taxing toll on their bodies. Stephenson coaches little league football, and Taylor coaches in high school. Thankfully neither player suffered an injury that prevented them from living a normal life.
Even with the rules that have been put in place to help player safety, football is always going to be a violent and dangerous sport, and there has never been a moment more violent than Taylor's tackle on Stephenson.
Here are just a few of the other memorable hard hits through the years ...
Alabama's Cornelius Bennett flattens unsuspecting Notre Dame quarterback Steve Beuerlein:
Major Wright sets the tone for Florida in the BCS Championship Game:
Nebraska's Kenny Bell with an absolutely brutal block:
This Quentin Coryatt hit is still famous at Texas A&M:
And just so we don't ignore the running backs, West Virginia's Quincy Wilson going beast mode to give the Mountaineers a late lead at Miami: