Early Enrollee: Cooper Mays, OL
Height/Weight: 6-foot-3, 295 pounds
School: Knoxville Catholic (Tennessee)
Home Town: Knoxville, TN
247Sports Composite: No. 317 overall, No. 5 OC
247Sports: No. 249 overall, No. 4 OC
Rivals: 5.8 rating, No. 4 OC
Notable Offers: Georgia, Auburn, Florida, LSU
What we like:
If you want a versatile offensive lineman, look no further than Cooper Mays. He primarily played at guard for Catholic last season, but he’s capable of playing center as well. He’s extremely aggressive in run blocking, and he consistently plows his man to the ground and continues to block through the echo of the whistle. Effort is not an issue at all with Mays. He moves quickly and has lively feet, and he pulls well to the outside from his guard spot. Mays has solid instincts and is a very cerebral lineman, which translates well to his potential as a center. He looks for contact and mauls defensive linemen regularly. He’s quick enough to catch speed moves and plays with good physicality. Mays was solid on the defensive line for Catholic, too.
Weight was once thought to be an issue for Mays, but he’s already up over 290 pounds now after playing under 260 pounds as a junior. That should no longer be a concern for him, only adding some more bulk and some good weight.
Places to improve:
On his highlight film, Mays is mostly at guard and mostly shows off his run blocking. It’s believed he will play center in college, but there aren’t many highlights of him playing center on his film. It would be nice to see more what he can do at that position. He’s visited UT several times and has camped in front of Tennessee’s coaches, so they undoubtedly have seen enough from him to know he can work there, though. And maybe he stays at guard for his career. Time will tell. I would also like to see more of his pass blocking ability. There isn’t much in the way of pass blocking film on Mays’ highlights. What little pass blocking there is on film does show some good ability there, but it makes you wonder if he’s a little more one-dimensional considering the overwhelming amount of run blocking on his highlight film.
Mays is a lineman who has just continued to get better and better as he’s played, and that figures to remain true. There’s a possibility he could even play along the defensive line, though it’s expected he’ll likely play on offense. Mays offers a ton as an interior lineman, and his dedication to improvement and his road grader mentality will help him immensely. Given that Mays played his entire senior season with a fracture in his foot and the fact that Mays probably still needs to add some weight and muscle, 2020 might be good for a redshirt year for Mays. But the Vols likely will have a need for interior linemen to fill in spots moving forward after this season, so I expect Mays to see the field in the near future.