Mays Stays at USC

USC's 2009 defense got a big boost on Tuesday when All-American safety Taylor Mays announced that he will return for his senior season. Look inside for more.

USC's 2009 defense just got a big boost.

All-American Safety Taylor Mays announced on Tuesday that he will stay in school for his senior season at USC.

Mays was considered a first-round draft pick by many experts, but decided to return to USC to further develop his skills and finish his education.

"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 release. "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.

"It came down to whether I felt I was ready physically and mentally. I feel there are some more things in my game that I can improve upon, things that would help me take the next step. I didn't want to sell myself short.

"Plus, I want to be here for my teammates and provide an example to them as a leader and a player. I love the camaraderie here and the atmosphere. USC is a special place. From all the players I've talked to in the NFL, they say it's a whole different world up there. They enjoyed college more than the NFL. I want to enjoy my last year of fun before it turns into a business.

"I'm also on track to graduate this fall and I know that's a big deal to my parents.

"I'm excited to start working hard toward next season. In fact, I wish I could start playing the 2009 season right now."

USC head coach Pete Carroll was thrilled with Mays' decision to return and provide veteran leadership in the secondary.

"We're obviously delighted to learn of Taylor's decision. He and his family did a lot of research and made an educated decision," Carroll said. "He embodies all the virtues of staying. He wants to do this not only to improve as a player, but he's coming back for his team, for his school and for the fans. We're looking forward to Taylor having another outstanding season in 2009 and furthering his standing as a player and a person. 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."

Taylor Mays will be a senior leader on the defense in 2009. (Paul Pinner Photo)

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