According to Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News, junior safety – and sure top 20 pick – Taylor Mays will return to USC for his senior season. Wolf reportedly spoke with USC head coach Pete Carroll last night, who confirmed that Mays, senior defensive back Josh Pinkard and redshirt sophomore running back C.J. Gable would all return.
“They are all returning,” Carroll said.
In a sign that he would return, Mays just moved into an apartment with USC teammate Will Harris last weekend. Sources said he enjoyed college life and wanted to spend another year at USC before experiencing the demands of the NFL.
If the report is true (and Wolf has been wrong before), it would go a long way to shoring up a defense that was expected to lose 10 starters from this year’s squad, which ranked No. 1 nationally in several categories including points allowed. With Mays and Pinkard – who still needs the NCAA’s approval for a sixth year of eligibility – the secondary would retain invaluable experience.
This would also be a shocking development because Mays has all the measurables and accolades to move on to the next level. He’s a three-time All-American and would certainly test off the charts at The NFL Scouting Combine and USC’s Pro Day.
Mays measures in at 6’3, 230 and has been timed as fast as 4.28 in the 40-yard dash. Most reports have him in the 4.35 range, which is still tremedously fast for a safety, let alone one his size. He also has excellent cover skills and his speed and wingspan help him recover from any mistakes. Mays is also big enough to help in run coverage and is always looking to land a monster hit to any unlucky receivers that might venture across the middle (examples here, here and here). He’s been projected solidly into the top 20 but I could seem him easily jumping into the top 10 if he even has an average performance at the combine/his pro day.
That’s why this report is so shocking, I thought for sure Mays would take his game to the next level, if not Pete Carroll may have just scored yet another recruiting coup.