JONESBORO, Ark. (3/1/18) – Arkansas State alumnus and four-year football letterman Blaise Taylor, who completed his senior season with the Red Wolves in 2017, was announced Thursday by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine as one of three finalists for the 2018 Arthur Ashe Jr. Male Sports Scholar of the Year.

Taylor and the other two male finalists, West Virginia basketball player Jevon Carter and UC San Diego tennis player Justin Zhang, were chosen from 40 semifinalists, who were selected from more than 1,000 nominees. The male and female Scholar of the Year, as well as the entire class of 2018 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars will be featured in the April 5, 2018, edition of Diverse.

Diverse sponsors the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Awards to honor students who have excelled in the classroom as well as on the athletic field. In addition to their athletic ability and academic performance, Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars demonstrate a commitment to community service and student leadership.

Taylor was a 2017 William V. Campbell Trophy and Wuerrfel Trophy finalist, as well as a semifinalist for the inaugural Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award. He completed his career with the Red Wolves as a three-time All-Sun Belt Conference selection and was also a 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team nominee, Senior CLASS Award candidate, and member of the Hornung Award Watch List.

Taylor was the only 2017 FBS player in the nation to earn both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees before the start of his true senior season. He earned his Master of Business Administration in August 2017 with a 3.82 GPA, and he also graduated Magna Cum Laude in August 2016 with his bachelor’s degree in business administration. A member of the Arkansas State University Chancellor’s List, Dean’s List, Athletics Director’s Honor Roll and Sun Belt Conference Commissioner’s List, Taylor earned both degrees in less than four years.

The Waco, Texas, native is heavily involved in community service and created a non-profit organization with his sister, sophomore A-State women’s basketball guard Starr Taylor, titled “The Power of 1 or 2.” He is highly invested in working with at-risk youth, including participation at a local alternative school called Success Academy. During his time at A-State, he served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee while working with multiple community service initiatives.

His football career at Arkansas State saw him pile up 102 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, six interceptions, 30 pass break-ups, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and a blocked kick while earning all-conference recognition in 2014, 2016 and 2017.

He is the Sun Belt Conference’s second all-time leader in career punt return yards (1,151) and holds the league record for passes defended (36). The standout holds four of the top-10 marks in school history for punt return yards in a game, as well as in a season. He is the second all-time leader in Sun Belt history for punt returns for a touchdown (4).