Player Profile: Taylor Mays

Written by Will Spencer on September 16, 2009

Taylor Mays

Safety – USC

6’2″ 230lbs


Mays is a four year starter at free safety for the Trojans.

Awards and Honors
2009: Walter Camp 1st team All-American, First team All-Pac 10, Finalist for Thorpe Award, Bednarik Award and Lott Award.
2008: Consensus All-American first teamer by Associated Press, Football Writers, Walters Camp, Sporting News,,,, Phil Steele’s, Pro Football Weekly, and Second team All-American by Was one of three finalists for the Thorpe Award. 2008 All-Pac-10 First team. Won USC’s Bob Chandler Award, which is awarded to underclassmen with superb on field and off-field qualities. 2008 Playboy Preseason All-American team.
2007: All-American first team by Sporting News. All-American second team by All-American third team by the Associated Press. All-Pac-10 honorable mention.
2006: All-American second team by Sporting News. Defensive Freshman of the Year. Sporting News, and Freshman All-American first team. Pac-10 Co-Freshman of the year.

Sociology major at USC.

Father, Stafford Mays, played defensive lineman at Washington in 1978-79. Stafford then played in the NFL for St. Louis Cardinals (1980-86) and the Minnesota Vikings (1986-88).

Mays had arthroscopic surgery on his ankle before the 2008 spring practices began.

Displays rare combination of size and speed. Mays has the range to cover the field like a pro free safety but the size and physicality to hit like a strong safety. Does a good job breaking up passes and can read the quarterback’s eyes. Shows good instincts. Solid in run support. Good open field tackler and can provide the big hit. Mays can run with most wide receivers and should be able to at the next level. Flips hips well to cover the field. Could play both strong and free safety in the NFL. A sure fire first round draft pick that will more than likely blow folks away at the Combine.

Mays had a disappointing senior season. Could have been a first round draft pick had he declared after his junior season but decided to stay. Didn’t show the same aggressiveness during his senior season as he did the first three years. Seemed to lack concentration at times, especially when it came to tackling. That being said, the entire USC team looked flat for 2009 and played below their talent level.

Mays was highly recruited coming out of O’Dea high school in Seattle, Washington and chose USC over Washington and Michigan. Mays has been a starter almost the entire time at USC. During his freshman season, Mays filled in for the injured Josh Pinkard, and started the final 12 games of the year. Mays has been a starter ever since. Mays has a rare combination of size and speed. According to multiple sources, Mays has run sub 4.3 40 yard dash times while at USC. Plays the game with passion and isn’t afraid of contact. Should be a first round pick and an immediate starter at the next level. Could project at both strong and free safety and can succeed playing both.

Career Stats
Year Tack Solo Asst Sack FF Int TD
2009 88 45 43 0 0 1 0
2008 53 38 15 0 0 0 0
2007 65 36 29 0 1 1 0
2006 62 38 24 0 0 0 3

Will Spencer

Will is the founder and President of Draft Breakdown & has been scouting draft prospects since 2002. His work has been featured in numerous publications, including the USA Today Draft Preview Magazine, the official website of the Baltimore Ravens, Ravens Insider and The Orange and Brown Report. Will has previous playing experience as a defensive end in the AFA, is currently a member of the Football Writers Association of America and graduated from the SMWW Football Scouting course in 2009.

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