Our final top 30 player rankings from 2009 will start from the bottom and work up to No. 1.
12. Taylor Mays, S, USC (1): While it’s hard to quantify what Mays might have gained socially, intellectually and emotionally from returning for his senior year, it’s fair to say he didn’t gain much professionally. He likely fell from a top-10 NFL draft pick to perhaps a late first rounder, though you should count on Mays’ stock recovering at the NFL combine. (You don’t hear as much criticism of Mays among NFL scouts and coaches, by the way). Mays, a four-year starter, also didn’t exactly have a terrible season. He earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors again and ranked second in the conference with 96 tackles, despite missing a game with a knee injury that seemed to bother him much of the season. He had one interception, four pass breakups and a number of ball-dislodging hits.
13. Ed Dickson, TE, Oregon: When Arizona’s Rob Gronkowski went down with a season-ending back injury, Dickson became the conference’s best tight end by default. Then, Dickson earned the perch by posting outstanding numbers, ranking second on the Ducks with 42 receptions for 551 yards and six touchdowns. It’s likely he will be an early NFL draft pick.
14. Tyson Alualu, DE, California (26)
15. Alterraun Verner, CB, UCLA (15)
16. Jahvid Best, RB, California (2)
17. Charles Brown, OT, USC (17)
18. Syd’Quan Thompson, CB, California (8)
19. Keaton Kristick, LB, Oregon State (28)
20. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona (NR)
21. Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, DE, Washington (23)
22. Mike Mohamed, LB, California (NR)
23. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford (NR)
24. Donald Butler, LB, Washington (NR)
25. Everson Griffen, DE, USC (30)
26. Ricky Elmore, DE, Arizona (NR)
27. Trevin Wade, CB, Arizona (NR)
28. Kenny Rowe, DE, Oregon (NR)
29. Earl Mitchell, DT, Arizona (NR)
30. Travis Goethel, LB Arizona State (NR)