Punishing tackler. Six-foot, three-inches, 220 pounds. Wide receiver speed. Tremendous physique.
That is what scouts said about Taylor Mays before coming to USC and that is what Taylor Mays brought to USC.
In his first year, Mays had significant playing time as a true freshman and recorded 62 tackles with 38 of them being solo. He received Pac-10 Second-Team All-American honors and made Pac-10 Co-freshmen of the year with Oregon's Jarius Byrd and UCLA's Alterraun Verner. Against Notre Dame, he recorded seven tackles all solo. It was perhaps his best game as a freshman.
Mays would follow his first year with back-to-back 60 tackle seasons as he recorded 65 in his sophomore season.
By the time Mays' junior and senior year rolled around, he made his mark in the college football landscape. Quarterbacks feared him as he was perceived to be cruel to receivers. His actions on the field certainly justifies that claim as he laid out receivers coming his way. In his junior and senior years combined, Mays recorded 131 tackles as a free safety. Eighty-eight coming from his last year with USC. Mays would make First-Team All Pac-10 during his last two years.
What Mays needs to improve on is his coverage skills and prevent from trying to create "big plays" consistently. Though he has low interception numbers (five total for his career), Mays is still projected to be a first-round pick. His performance at the Senior Bowl in January and the expectations that will impress NFL scouts at the upcoming combine will only rise his stock in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Whatever team will draft the 6-3 safety, Mays will not disappoint. He was special in high school and in college. The "freak" will deliver at the pro-level.