Tuesday, January 13, 2009


There were no real surprises when several players confirmed reports of their impending departures on Tuesday, but this announcement was a shocker:

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.

Considering that Mays was widely projected as a top-15 pick if he decided to leave early, this is great news for college football fans and even greater news for Pete Carroll and the Trojans. I'm not sure exactly why he's coming back, but as Orson at EDSBS said, "Perhaps he is limited in his actions by the demands of Directive 4, which keeps him from turning on the engineers who built him or from bolting to the NFL until he absolutely has to." Or something like that.

Carroll also announced that running back C.J. Gable and safety Josh Pinkard will return for their senior seasons. Mark Sanchez has yet to announce his intentions.

Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, Syracuse defensive tackle Arthur Jones and Texas linebacker Sergio Kindle also will return next season.

Players declaring for the draft Tuesday included Ball State QB Nate Davis (despite his public announcement that he would return), Boise State wide receiver Jeremy Childs, Texas Tech defensive end Brandon Williams, Georgia cornerback Asher Allen and Utah defensive end Paul Kruger and defensive back Sean Smith. Mississippi defensive end Greg Hardy, who had 18.5 sacks the past two seasons, was reportedly set to declare but will discuss the situation further with coach Houston Nutt before making a decision.

And in case you haven't heard the story of Florida State safety Myron Rolle, a five-star recruit in 2006 and a projected first-day draft pick, check it out. Rolle, who graduated in less than three years with a degree in pre-med, decided to put off entering the draft in favor of heading to Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship. There are millions of us normal people who can only imagine what it'd be like to have Rolle's physical OR mental gifts, let alone both.

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