Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Corey Mays: The Heart to 'Play like a Champion' Every Day

Sept. 18, 2003

by Katie Stuhldreher

Tenacity, perseverance, dedication, and sheer strength distinguish junior Irish inside linebacker Corey Mays. Mays exhibited his consistent playmaking ability as a crucial part of the Irish special teams after recovering from a frustrating shoulder injury during his sophomore year. This season, however, Mays adds a commanding presence to the Irish defense as he backs up Courtney Watson and Brandon Hoyte at inside linebacker.

In response to this transition from special teams to defense, Mays commented, “There is a lot more to know at this position, but it’s still football once you’re on the field. It’s all about reacting.”

As demonstrated in the season opener against Washington State, the Irish known for their perseverance, and Corey Mays is no exception. He exemplified this trait as he recovered from a disappointing shoulder injury that kept him off the field for several games last season.

“I took that experience as a learning step. Never take anything for granted. I play every down as if it is my last,” Mays said.

He confidently added that this season he is feeling the best he has felt since he was recruited to play for Notre Dame and looks to make big plays for the Irish this season.

Mays grew up playing pickup football in his neighborhood and dreaming of someday dressing out in a big college game. He began playing organized football during his freshman year of high school, and after an impressive four years of play, a variety of college football programs expressed an interest in him.

“It was exciting to get interest from so many schools, but after attending a Notre Dame football game, I knew this was the place for me. There’s something about the loyalty of the fans, a feeling in the air,” Mays reflected.

The same determination and perseverance that carried Mays from being one of Notre Dame’s biggest fans to one of Notre Dame’s biggest playmakers will carry the Irish from last weekend’s disappointment against Michigan to victory against Michigan State.

“It’s just another challenge, like every week. We just need to step up as a team and take pride in everything that we do,” Mays commented.

Mays and the rest of the Fighting Irish look to improve their focus and turn the season around on Saturday, Sept. 20, when they take on Michigan State at 1:30 PM EST.