All-American safety Taylor Mays has decided to return to Southern California for his senior season rather than turn pro.
“There are a lot more things I want to accomplish as a player, a student and a person, things that I’ve dreamed about for a long time and that are big goals to me,” Mays said in a statement issued by the school Tuesday. “Returning to USC will help me be the best player I can be and put me in the best position possible for the next level.”
Mays, a three-year starter, was one of three finalists for the Thorpe Award as the country’s top defensive back. Malcolm Jenkins of Ohio State won the award.
“We’re obviously delighted to learn of Taylor’s decision,” USC coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s one of the most gifted safeties to ever play at USC and he wants to come back and do it one more time.”
Quarterback Mark Sanchez, who passed for 413 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another score in No. 3 USC’s 38-24 Rose Bowl victory over Penn State, still hasn’t announced whether he’ll return for his senior season or turn pro. The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft is Thursday.
Tailback C.J. Gable said Monday he’ll return to school. He’ll be a fourth-year junior next season.