120 Players You Need To
USC S Taylor Mays
Who is Taylor Mays?
college football was an Olympic event, Mays would be competing in
the decathlon. A truly elite physical specimen, he does just about
everything well. He runs, he hits, and he has the experience that
comes with being a three-year starter. Mays has already had a
terrific career at Troy, but he wants more, which is why he put off
the NFL and returned to campus. He wants another crack at a national
championship and a chance to take on a greater leadership role in
his senior year. On a Trojan defense that’s lost so many stars to
graduation, he’s going to get that chance to be the elder statesman
of the unit. At the insistence of his father, Mays started playing
the game relatively late, and a few years later than he hoped.
However, dad relented in the seventh grade, realizing his son’s
physicality wasn’t going to be fully appreciated on the soccer
field. He’s never looked back, dedicating himself to being in
phenomenal shape and becoming one of the game’s most intimidating
Statistics, information and photo provided by the
USC sports information department
game so far was … last September against Ohio State. Mays isn’t
the type of player who can be easily evaluated by statistics. He’s
often doing things on the field that’ll never show up in a box
score, like making a receiver short-arm a pass or a back scoot out
of bounds before the first down marker. He played such a role in
last year’s rout of the Buckeyes, collecting seven tackles and
helping hold them to just three points and 207 total yards.
Why you should care about
Mays? … If you like an enforcer, who can knock the snot out of
an opponent, Mays is the type of player you’ll want to watch
throughout his senior year. He’s one of the most unique all-around
athletes in the game today and a candidate to be chosen real early
in the 2010 NFL Draft. In fact, he’s the type of kid who’s going to
blow away scouts next February at the Combine in Indianapolis.
Positives about Mays
… Some safeties can deliver the payload. Other safeties can run like
the wind. Mays is that rare gem at the position, who does both
equally well. At just under 6-4 and 232 pounds, he almost defies the
laws of physics by consistently running in the 4.3 range in the 40.
He’s in tremendous physical condition, boasting 5% body fat, and is
often the last kid leaving the weight room. In terms of the
size-speed dynamic, he has few peers nationally.
about Mays … While Mays does a lot of great things on the field,
they’ve yet to translate into a slew of turnovers. He has just one
interception in his last 29 games and just a single forced fumble in
his career. Unlike some defensive backs, who could double as wide
receivers, he does not have particularly soft hands when the ball is
in the air.
A cool thing about Mays you
probably didn’t know … Mays’ dad Stafford was a defensive
lineman for the St. Louis Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings in the
1980s. He’s got a game-day ritual, which includes texting some
personal words of encouragement and things to look out for to his
son. Stafford often mentions that Taylor’s grandmothers, who both
passed away during his senior of high school, will be looking over
him during the game.
2007: 65 tackles, seven pass breakups, and an interception
53 tackles, two tackles for loss, and nine pass breakups