The New Orleans Saints selected Wisconsin left-footed kicker Taylor Mehlhaff with the 178th selection (6th round) of the 2008 NFL Draft.
FOLLOWING IS THE COMPLETE BIO ON TAYLOR MEHLHAFF:
University of Wisconsin Badgers
Aberdeen, South Dakota
Aberdeen Central High School
Mehlhaff continued the tradition of outstanding kicking specialists to wear Badgers uniforms in recent years. He teamed with punter Ken DeBauche to form what many experts felt was the best 1-2 kicking tandem in college football. DeBauche left the school ranked second in punting average and total punting yards. Mehlhaff finished his career as Wisconsin's second-leading scorer in school history (295 points) and tied for second all-time in field goals (50). He also holds the Badgers' all-time record by making 145-of-148 extra point attempts.
The 2007 Lou Groza Award semi-finalist, given to the nation's premier place-kicker, Mehlhaff also garnered All-American first-team honors as a senior. A three-year starter in handling field goals and conversions, he has been the major reason the opposition has had poor field position the last four years. In handling kickoff chores, he had 123 of his attempts result in touchbacks and 160 of those kicks returned for a 19.75-yard average, as none of those runbacks produced touchdowns.
Mehlhaff was a highly decorated kicker during his time at Aberdeen Central High School. He was rated the premier place-kicker in the prep ranks by Rivals.com, earning All-American first-team honors from Ridell and second-team accolades from USA Today. He was a two-time All-State, All-Area and All-Conference choice on special teams and added All-Conference honors as a quarterback. South Dakota's 2003 Gatorade Player of the Year, he helped lead his team to 12-1 record and runner-up finish in 2003 Class 11AA state finals as a quarterback, strong safety, kicker and punter.
The national kickoff champion at Chris Sailer's Kicking Camp, Mehlhaff had more than 93 percent of his kickoffs go for touchbacks and he made 6-of-14 field goals, with a long of 52 yards and 35-of-36 PATs as a senior. He also passed for 1,359 yards and 12 touchdowns, while making 55 tackles on defense. The team captain and MVP lettered four times each in football, hockey and track. He also earned All-State Academic team recognition.
Mehlhaff enrolled at Wisconsin in 2004, where he found Mike Allen holding down the job as the team's place-kicker. He took over kickoff chores for the Badgers, handling 53 kick for 3,266 yards (61.6-yard distance average) with 18 touchbacks, as the opposition averaged 20.1 yards on 33 kickoff returns. He also made two assisted tackles.
In 2005, Mehlhaff handled field goal, placement and kickoff duties. He scored 98 points on 14-of-20 field goals and 56-of-58 PATs. He ranked second in the Big Ten Conference, as he kicked off 81 times for a 60.9-yard distance average, as 45 were returned for an 18.9-yard average and 36 boots resulted in touch-backs. He also posted four tackles (2 solos).
Mehlhaff was named the team's Special Teams Player of the Year. The Lou Groza Award semi-finalist added All-Big Ten Conference second-team honors, as he ranked second on the team with 92 points. He was successful on all 47 extra point tries and on 15-of-20 field goals. He produced one solo tackle and saw just 32 of his 76 kickoffs (61.6-yard distance average) returned, with 42 resulting in touchbacks.
His senior year was Mehlhaff's finest, picking up All-American and All-Big Ten honors. He tied for the conference title and ranked 16th nationally with an average of 1.62 field goals per game. He finished 23rd in the country with just 50 kickoffs returned for a 19.64 average on 77 kicks, having 27 result in touchbacks. He led the team with a career-high 105 points scored, connecting on 21-of-25 field goals and 42-of-43 extra point attempts. His 21 field goals rank second on the school season-record list. He also made two tackles.
In 51 games at Wisconsin, Mehlhaff handled kickoff duties in each of those contests and field goal/PAT chores in 39 clashes. He connected on 50-of-65 field goals (76.92%) and 145-of-148 extra point attempts (97.97%) for 295 points, the second-highest total on the school's career scoring chart. He recorded nine tackles (4 solos) and kicked off 287 times for 18,018 yards (62.78-yard distance average), as 123 of those boots resulted in touch-backs, six were kicked out of bounds and 160 were returned (55.75%) for 3,160 yards (19.55 avg) with no touchdowns, as the opposition's average start point was the 23-yard line.
Mehlhaff's 50 field goals made tied Rich Thompson (1988-92) for second in school history behind Todd Gregoire (65, 1984-87)…His 65 field goal attempts are the third-best career total in Badgers annals behind Thompson (81) and Gregoire (85)…His field goal success percentage of .769 is surpassed only by Matt Davenport (86.8%, 1996-98) in Wisconsin history…Holds the school career-records for extra points made (145) and attempted (148), topping the previous marks of 105-of-110 PATs by Vince Lamia (1973-76)…His extra point career percentage of .9797 topped the old school record of .965 by Todd Gregoire…His 295 points scored rank behind only Ron Dayne (426 points, 1996-99) on Wisconsin's all-time record list…Mehlhaff's 98 points scored in 2005 rank seventh and his 105 points in 2007 rank fifth on the school's season-record list behind Brian Calhoun (144 in 2005), Ron Dayne (126 in 1996 and 120 in 1999) and Billy Marek (114 in 1974)…His 21 field goals in 2007 rank second in Badgers season annals behind Rich Thompson's 22 three-pointers in 1992…His 25 field goal tries in 2007 rank third on the school season-record chart behind Rich Thompson (32 in 1992) and Todd Gregoire (26 in 1984)…Made 84.0% of his field goals in 2007, the second-best season percentage in Wisconsin history, topped only by Matt Davenport's 90.5% success rate in 1998…Holds the school's top two extra point seasons, with 56 in 2005 and 47 in 2006, breaking the old record of 46 by Vitaly Pisetsky in 1999…His 58 extra point attempts in 2005 broke the previous Wisconsin season-record of 48 by Kevin Rohde in 1983…Became just one of six place-kickers to make all of his extra point attempts in a season (47 in 2006), joining Gary Kroner (1962), Roger Jaeger (1971), Mark Doran (1981), Mark Neuser (2001) and Mike Allen (2002)…Attempted nine extra points vs. Temple in 2005, tying the school game-record that was first established by Rick Schnetzky vs. Indiana in 1994…His eight extra points made in the 2005 Temple and Bowling Green contests tied a school game-record that he shares with Vince Lamia (vs. Missouri, 1974), Kevin Rohde (vs. Minnesota, 1983), Rick Schnetzky (vs. Eastern Michigan and Indiana, 1994), Matt Davenport (vs. San Jose State, 1997), Vitaly Pisetsky (vs. Indiana, 1999) and Mike Allen (vs. Michigan State, 2003).
All-American first-team selection by The NFL Draft Report and American Football Coaches Association…All-Big Ten Conference first-team choice by the league's coaches…Lou Groza Award semi-finalist (nation's top place-kicker)…Named the Badgers' Special Teams Player of the Year…Led the team in scoring with a career-high 105 points...His 105 points rank fifth overall on the school's season-record scoring list, but tops among kickers, breaking the old kick scoring record of 99 points by Matt Davenport in 1998…Made 21-of-25 field goals, just one field goal shy of the school season-record 22 by Rich Thompson in 1992…Tied Indiana's Austin Starr for the league title and ranked 26th nationally with an average of 1.62 field goals per game…Made 42-of-43 extra point attempts and recorded a pair of tackles…The team's kickoff coverage unit improved from 68th in the nation in 2006 to 23rd nationally, as 50 of Mehlhaff's 77 kickoffs were returned for a 20.7-yard average… Had 27 of his kickoffs go for touchbacks, as he averaged 66.7-yards in distance on those attempts…Earned team Player of the Game honors vs. Washington State, Nevada-Las Vegas, Michigan State and Ohio State.
Second-team All-Big Ten Conference selection by the league's coaches…Semi-finalist for the Lou Groza Award…Named the team's Special Teams Player of the Year…Selected Big Ten Player of the Week vs. Illinois…Finished second on the team in scoring with 92 points, the fourth best total in the league…Even though the kickoff coverage defense ranked 68th in the nation, Mehlhaff had 42 of his 76 kickoffs go for touchbacks, as he averaged 61.6-yards per kick and had 32 kickoffs returned for 663 yards (20.7 avg)…Made 15-of-20 field goals and became the sixth kicker in school history to make all of his extra point attempts (47) in a season…Recorded one solo tackle and had the only field goal that was blocked during his career.
Mehlhaff took over field goal and extra point kicking duties, in addition to again handling kickoff chores…Named Big Ten Conference Player of the Week vs. Hawaii…Finished second on the team in scoring with 98 points, the third-best season total by a Wisconsin kicker, topped only by his own 105 points in 2007 and Matt Davenport's 99 in 1998…Made 14-of-20 field goals and 56-of-58 extra point tries…Recorded four tackles (2 solos) and had 36 touchbacks among his 81 kickoffs for 4,935 yards (60.9-yard distance average), as the opposition returned 45 of those kicks for an 18.9-yard average, having a drive starting point at the 23-yard line.
Lettered as the team's kickoff specialist as a true freshman…Handled 53 kickoffs for 3,266 yards (61.6-yard distance average), 18 touchbacks and five kicks that went out of bounds…Had 33 kickoffs returned for a 20.1-yard average, giving the opponent a drive starting position at the 22-yard line…Also recorded two assisted tackles.
2004 GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Had three touchbacks on six kickoffs (63.3-yard distance average) in his collegiate debut vs. Central Florida…Only one of three kickoffs was returned for 25 yards vs. Nevada-Las Vegas…Averaged 64.3 yards on five kickoffs and assisted in tackling Santonio Holmes on a 32-yard kickoff return late in the second quarter vs. Ohio State…Four of his five kickoffs (63.8-yard distance average) were touchbacks in the Northwestern contest…Kicked off seven times for a 62.3-yard average and three touchbacks vs. Minnesota…Tackled Damian Sims on a 37-yard return of a 62-yard kickoff late in the second quarter vs. Iowa…Had five kickoffs for a 52.4-yard distance average vs. Georgia in the Outback Bowl.
CAMPUS AGILITY TESTS
4.72 in the 40-yard dash…335-pound bench press…32-inch vertical jump…29 ¾-inch arm length…8 ¾-inch hands…Ambidextrous…Left-footed soccer style kicker.
Attended Aberdeen (S.D.) Central High School, playing football for head coach Mike Flakus…Rated the premier place-kicker in the prep ranks by Rivals.com, earning All-American first-team honors from Ridell and second-team accolades from USA Today… Two-time All-State, All-Area and All-Conference choice on special teams and added All-Conference honors as a quarterback…South Dakota's 2003 Gatorade Player of the Year… Helped lead his team to 12-1 record and runner-up finish in 2003 Class 11AA state finals as a quarterback, strong safety, kicker and punter…The national kickoff champion at Chris Sailer's Kicking Camp…Had more than 93 percent of his kickoffs go for touchbacks and he made 6-of-14 field goals, with a long of 52 yards and 35-of-36 PATs as a senior…Also passed for 1,359 yards and 12 touchdowns, while making 55 tackles on defense…Team captain and MVP…Lettered four times each in football, hockey and track…Also earned All-State Academic team recognition.
Agricultural Business Management major…Son of Heidi Preston and Charlie Mehlhaff… Father ran track and played golf at Northern State…Born 8/25/85…Resides in Aberdeen, South Dakota.