George Taliaferro

Theodore Roosevelt High School

Sport: Football

George Taliaferro was born in Gates, Tennessee. Before his college years, he moved to Gary, Indiana, where he graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School. He was a professional American football player who was the first African American drafted by a National Football League (NFL) team. Beginning his football career at Indiana University for the Hoosiers, he played in the NFL for the New York Yanks from 1950 to 1951, the Dallas Texans in 1952, the Baltimore Colts from 1953 to 1954, and Philadelphia Eagles in 1955. Taliaferro was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1981. He would play a variety of positions for Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana from 1945 to 1948 as halfback, quarterback, defensive back, and kicker. As the leading rusher and an All-American at Indiana University, he led the Hoosiers to their only undefeated Big Ten Conference championship during his rookie year in 1945, and he led the conference in rushing (a first for an African-American in the Big Ten) with 719 yards on 156 carries. He started his college career with 95 yards on 20 carries against Michigan as left halfback. As a three-time All-American; Taliaferro led the Hoosiers in rushing twice, punting in 1945 and passing in 1948. Taliaferro helped break the color barrier in sports, playing for the Hoosiers two years before Jackie Robinson suited up for the Brooklyn Dodgers.