Vol Commit Makes 2019 The Opening Finals “Dream Team”

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    (Photo via Andrew Ivins/247Sports)

    Last month, four-star offensive lineman Cooper Mays got the ball rolling for Tennessee’s in-state recruiting efforts in the 2020 class when he announced his commitment to the Vols. This week, Mays represented his future college team well at one of the most prestigious annual recruiting camps around.

    Mays was one of three Vol commits participating in Nike’s The Opening Finals this week, and he ended up being one of the more impressive prospects there according to recruiting analysts in attendance.

    According to Barton Simmons of 247Sports, he and the other main 247Sports analysts in attendance at The Opening Finals thought Mays was one of the five best offensive linemen at the event. The 247Sports team compiled their “Dream Team” list of all the participants at the event, listing off their top quarterback, top running back, top three receivers, top tight end, top five offensive linemen, top five defensive linemen, top three linebackers, top two safeties, and top two cornerbacks.

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    When it came time to give praise to the offensive line, Mays’ name was one of the five on the “Dream Team.”

    “The only place that we strayed from The Opening staff on our Final Five for the offensive line was Mays,” Simmons writes. “The Tennessee commit missed the cut for the Final Five in favor of Myles Murao who also had a great week but he edges Murao out on our list because of the way he was able to battle from the beginning to the end of every rep. At 6-foot-3, 282 pounds, Mays was also athletic with a 4.63 shuttle but his tenacity, resetting his hands and keeping his feet moving every rep earned him some wins that other offensive linemen would have let slip away.”

    Mays, who plays just down the road from UT’s campus at Knoxville Catholic, consistently performed well in linemen drills throughout The Opening, and he held his own against some stout competition despite still being slightly undersized.

    Mays committed to the Vols back on June 21st, and his commitment sparked a slew of in-state commits for Tennessee. After him came a commitment from four-star safety and top-100 overall prospect Keshawn Lawrence from Nashville, then Maryville running back Tee Hodge committed just a few days after that. In between those commitments, Tennessee picked up a commitment from 2021 athlete Elijah Howard from Chattanooga.

    According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Mays is currently the No. 316 overall prospect, No. 5 center, and No. 10 player in the state of Tennessee.

    The aforementioned Keshawn Lawrence and four-star quarterback Harrison Bailey were the Vols’ two other commits to participate in The Opening Finals this year.

    Tennessee also had a number of recruiting targets earn spots on the “Dream Team” from 247Sports. Five-star tight Arik Gilbert, four-star offensive tackle Marcus Dumervil, four-star defensive end BJ Ojulari, and four-star linebacker Noah Sewell all were named to the all-star list of prospects.



    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.