Skip to main content

Sun Devil Athletics Mourns Passing of Charley Taylor

Feb 20, 2022

TEMPE, Ariz. - Sun Devil Athletics is mourning the loss of legendary football player Charley Taylor, who passed away at the age of 80 yesterday.

Taylor is one of the greatest players in the history of the Arizona State Football program, starring at halfback in Tempe from 1960-1963. He is a charter member of the Sun Devil Athletics Hall of Fame, part of the inaugural class back in 1975.

After a brilliant collegiate career, the Washington Commanders (then the Redskins) selected Taylor with the No. 3 overall pick in the 1964 NFL Draft. He still remains the highest drafted player ever from Arizona State. The pick paid off enormously, as Taylor switched to receiver in the NFL and went on to become one of the game's premier play makers and a trailblazer on how the position is played. He eventually was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984, the first Sun Devil to join the exclusive fraternity. 

Arriving in Tempe prior to the 1960 season, Taylor helped usher in a new era of Sun Devil Football as they made the move from the Border Conference to the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). Taylor emerged as one of the elite two-way players in the nation, playing both halfback and defensive back. 

In a run-heavy offense, Taylor was the key component, doing it on the ground and receiving out the backfield. He accounted for two 100-yard rushing games in his career as a part of a well-balanced style of play. He led the team in receiving in 1961 and scored a team-high eight touchdowns in 1962. Taylor also led the team with four interceptions in 1962, returning those picks for a total of 115 yards. In hopes of getting the ball in his hands as much as possible, he was the featured punt returner a majority of his career. Following his senior season, Taylor earned a spot on the College All-Stars team and was named outstanding player in their exhibition against the Bears.

Taylor was just getting started impacting the game, as he went on to enjoy a successful 13-year career in the NFL. He played each of his seasons with the Commanders (Redskins), finishing his stint as the NFL's all-time leading receiver (649 receptions), cementing his status a legendary figure in the game. Some of his accomplishments in professional football included, eight Pro Bowl appearances, a First Team All-Pro selection in 1967 (4x Second Team honoree), the 1964 NFL Rookie of the Year, a NFL 1960s All-Decade Team member, as well as a Washington Commanders (Redskins) Ring of Honor inductee, making him one of the most decorated and iconic Sun Devils, regardless of the sport.

After his retirement, Taylor joined the Washington front office as a scout. He also served as wide receivers coach under head coach Joe Gibbs. He and his wife Patricia have three children, Elizabeth, Erica, and Charles, Jr., and three grandchildren, Robyn, Jordyn, and Nathan. Arrangements for services are pending.