The Baltimore Ravens have absorbed many blows in 2020, from some key injuries, unexpected losses and a season-long battle with COVID-19. None of these compare to the news received Wednesday evening with the sudden passing of former running back Lorenzo Taliaferro.
Taliaferro, only 28 years old, passed from a reported heart attack at his home in Yorktown, Virginia, per Baltimore WBFF 54’s Bruce Cunningham.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Lorenzo Taliaferro,” said Ravens’ head coach John Harbaugh in a statement on the team’s official website. “Lorenzo was a kind, smart, respectful and determined young man – someone always committed to his teammates and well-liked by everyone in our organization. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Lorenzo’s family. May he rest in peace.”
Lorenzo Taliaferro career highlights
• 2013 Big South Conference Offensive Player of the Year after rushing for 1,729 yards and 27 touchdowns for Coastal Carolina.
• 2013 1st-Team All-Big South, 2013 2nd-Team All-American (Associated Press and The Sports Network).
• 2013 Walter Payton Award Finalist (Finished 11th in the voting).
• 2014 4th-Round (138th overall) NFL Draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens.
• 2014 Rushed for 91 yards on 18 carries for the Ravens in first significant NFL action against the Cleveland Browns.
Lorenzo Taliaferro: From small-school star to Baltimore Ravens
Taliaferro was Baltimore’s fourth round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He earned Big South Player of the Year honors at Coastal Carolina University as a senior, as can be seen in his dizzying stat line from that magical final collegiate season for the Chanticleers. Although Coastal Carolina has since been promoted to the FBS ranks, Taliaferro’s 27 touchdowns and 1,700-plus yards were among the highest single-season marks in FCS history.
Despite playing a lower level of competition in college, Taliferro soon dispelled any notion that he couldn’t play football at the highest level. The Ravens front office evidently saw he could get it done as an NFL ball-carrier, and used a mid-round draft pick to acquire him. Their investment was swiftly rewarded.
In a dynamic breakout performance during Week 3 of the 2014 NFL season, Taliaferro carried the ball 18 times for 91 yards and scored his first NFL touchdown against the Cleveland Browns. He’d finish his rookie campaign with 292 yards rushing to go with eight receptions for 114 yards.
Unfortunately, injuries plagued Taliaferro over the remainder of this time with the Ravens. He was released prior to the 2017 season. He finished his tenure in Baltimore with 339 yards rushing and five touchdowns, as well as 16 receptions for 153 yards.
In 2018, Taliaferro signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League and played in just one preseason game before being released.