Taylor Mays (born February 7, 1988) is a Jewish American professional football player currently with the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League.
Mays, who was born in Seattle, Washington, was raised by his mother who is Jewish. Mays was introduced early to Judaism, though admits that it did not play a large role in his life while he was younger. Of his Bar Mitzvah, he notes, "I don't think at the time I really understood what it meant. Now, looking back on it, I feel like I have come a long way in regards to maturity and becoming an adult. I think it helped me do that."
Mays' father was also a football player and upon finishing high school many pundits figured he would follow his fathers footsteps to the University of Washington; Mays, however, decided to attend the University of Southern California (USC). As a freshman, Mays became a starting safety at USC and named the Pac-10’s Co-Freshman of The Year while also earning Second-team All-American, 1st-team Freshman All-American and Defensive Freshman of the Year honors from Sporting News magazine.
By the time he finished his college career, Mays was considered to be one of the top talents in all of collegiate football, drawing comparisons to many current and former NFL players for his demeanor on and off the field in addition to his size (6'3") and hard-hitting ability (230 lbs). Mays ended up being drafted in the 2nd round with the 49th-overall pick by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2010 NFL Draft.
On August 22, 2011, Mays was traded to the Cincinnati Bengals for an undisclosed draft pick.
On June 26, 2011, he was inducted into the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.