In-State Offensive Lineman to Visit Vols

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    (Photo via @CooperMays on Twitter)

    Tennessee is hosting a lot of talented prospects this weekend in football. The basketball team has a huge game against Kentucky, and the basketball Vols will also be hosting some recruits. But for the football team, this weekend marks another big Junior Day event.

    The Vols are already welcoming in two four-star wide receivers, one who is currently committed to LSU and one who is from Alabama. Now, one of their more coveted in-state prospects is also coming to campus.

    Cooper Mays, the younger brother of Cade Mays and son to former Vol Kevin Mays, tweeted out on Tuesday that he’ll be on UT’s campus this weekend.

    Mays is a three-star offensive lineman in the 2020 class who plays in UT’s backyard at Knoxville Catholic. He plays primarily at guard for Catholic, but he’s also taken snaps at center and tackle. Mays also plays on defense for Catholic and has excelled there.

    According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Mays is the No. 527 overall prospect and No. 17 player from the state of Tennessee. Though he’s played mostly at guard so far in high school, Mays projects as a center in college and is graded as such by recruiting services. He’s ranked as the sixth-best center in the 2020 class right now.

    So far, Mays holds offers from Georgia, Florida, Auburn, Ohio State, LSU, Duke, and several other schools. He’s been on Tennessee’s campus plenty of times during his playing career, but this Saturday will mark the first time in 2019 he’s officially been on campus.

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    Cooper is the younger brother of former five-star offensive tackle Cade Mays. The older Mays was committed to the Vols for a long time in the 2018 recruiting cycle, but he infamously decommitted from the Vols during the 2017 season and ended up signing with the Georgia Bulldogs instead. Cade appeared in 11 games for Georgia this past season as a true freshman, starting in seven of them.

    The younger Mays isn’t as highly-rated as his older brother was, but he might be more of a rarity in the recruiting world.

    True centers are hard to find in high school football. A lot of times, college coaches have to turn guards into centers and teach them the position more. Mays, however, already has a lot of teaching at the center position and is viewed as less of a project there than most offensive linemen in high school.

    The 6-foot-3, 270-pound lineman has been a priority for UT’s coaching staff for over a year. That doesn’t figure to change any time soon.

    Mays is athletic and blocks really well in space, using his speed and strength to his fullest potential. He is incredibly aggressive, but he still plays under control. His footwork is excellent, and he is very strong. Mays’ biggest strength is his ability to run block. He’s a real bulldozer, and he can be seen racking up pancakes on his highlight film. He plays low and doesn’t habitually get too high on defenders, which is always a problem with high school linemen. You can tell he comes from a football family, because he has a strong football IQ and is a very smart player.

    As a junior, Mays was an All-State selection on the offensive line and he won the Defensive Lineman of the Year for Region 4-5A in East Tennessee.

    Not only is Mays a priority for Tennessee, but he’s teammates with some of the Vols’ top targets in the 2020 class. Four-star defensive end Tyler Baron just transferred from the mid-state to Catholic, and four-star offensive tackle Brynn Tucker is the top offensive lineman in the state. Three-star wide receiver Chancellor Bright is also one of Mays’ teammates.

    The Vols will make offensive line a big priority in their 2020 class just like they did in their 2019 class. Mays is one of Tennessee’s biggest targets on the offensive line, and getting him to visit on a big weekend like this one will help UT’s cause.



    Nathanael Rutherford
    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.