A couple of weeks back our friends over at Rocky Top Talk offered up their thoughts on the comparison...
Some 15 months and 60,000+ views ago, I posted a YouTube of Eric Berry's freshman highlights. That and the Tebow Tebow Tebow Berry Berry Berry video are the two-most heavily commented videos I've ever posted. I don't recommend reading comments left by YouTube viewers without first wrapping your head in gingko biloba leaves, but I do take a glance as YouTube helpfully auto-delivers them to my inbox. From these periodic brushes with illucidity, I have stumbled upon an irrefutable truth: the best defensive back in college football today is, according to the masses, . . . well, it's either Tennessee's Eric Berry or Southern Cal's Taylor Mays, depending on whose talking.
Joel does some fine work in compiling some stats and YouTube Videos but I really don't think there much of a comparison because Mays and Berry have different roles on different teams.There are some pretty good comments in the thread but of course they take a decided Tennessee tilt...that is fine I wouldn't expect anything different here or there.
But the "controversy" continues...
Now ESPN's Ted Miller and Chris Low jump into the act.
2. Who's the better tackler?
Miller: There are competing YouTube videos on this. Berry has some great hits in his career, no doubt. But you don't need a career catalogue for Mays. Just watch last year's Cal game. Or the Rose Bowl, when he took out two players with one blow (unfortunately one was USC corner Kevin Thomas). In fact, the challenge would be finding a game in which Mays didn't have a tackling highlight. One of the reasons Mays hasn't produced as many interceptions as he should have - other than owning mediocre hands - is his obsession with sending folks rear-end-over-tea-kettle.
Low: I offer video evidence from any number of tackles a year ago. There was the shoulder shiver that sent Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno airborne. There was the hit on Alabama receiver Marquis Maze that sent him spinning like a helicopter. Berry's personal favorite was a freight train-like collision in the hole with Mississippi State's bruising 240-pound running back Anthony Dixon. Hey, the guy hits like a linebacker, and if he gets his hands on you, you're going down. There's a reason he has 158 career tackles, including 8.5 for loss last season.
Again, as I said in the comments over in the RTT thread the comparrison is pointless.
Mays didn't have to do much because of USC's front seven on defense last year. Teams actually did their best to stay away from Mays because as a junior he was such a known commodity. There is no questions that Berry made some great plays but the two teams were going in two totally different directions last season and because UT's front seven wasn't in the same league as USC's opposing QB's attempted throws that Berry did intercept.
The only real thing that I think is real joke in all of this is Berry being in the same discussion as the Heisman. Whatever your opinion on the award it is very difficult for a defensive player to win that award. I actually think it diminishes Berry's talent and potential. He doesn't need an award that is stacked against the defense, that doesn't take in ALL of a players accomplishments (see Young, Vince; CFB's greatest game ever played).
I really don't see the point of the "argument". Mays' role this year will be that of director...the defense will key off of his leadership. Berry is a playmaker but he is not yet the leader that Mays is this year... but I have no doubt that he will grow into that role.