It’s been a busy offseason for Tennessee football. The Vols’ recent hot streak on the recruiting trail has grabbed attention recently, but Tennessee made headlines earlier this year when Georgia offensive lineman Cade Mays announced he would be transferring to Knoxville after two years in Athens.
At the time, Mays’ transfer was viewed as one of the top transfers in college football. Months later, Mays sits atop the transfer rankings on 247Sports for the 2020 season.
The 247Sports Transfer Rankings were unveiled on Monday, and Mays earned the highest rating of all the transfers this offseason, placing just ahead of USC quarterback JT Daniels. Tennessee is also believed to be in the mix for Daniels, assuming he still elects to transfer and not return to the Trojans.
“Offensive lineman Cade Mays had an elite rating out of high school, lived up to the billing at Georgia, and should instantly be one of, if not the best, offensive linemen at Tennessee,” wrote Bud Elliot of 247Sports.
The 6-foot-6, 328-pound lineman was a five-star coming out of high school and was once committed to the Vols. The Knoxville Catholic standout decommitted from Tennessee in the midst of the Vols’ disastrous 2017 season, and even the firing of Butch Jones and hiring of Jeremy Pruitt could not convince him to come back to Tennessee. Mays instead signed with Georgia, and he had a strong start to his Bulldog career.
In two seasons at UGA, Mays made 18 starts and played at all five positions along the offensive line. Mays projects as a guard for the Vols, but he has experience at both tackle positions and even at center from his time with the Bulldogs.
Mays was voted a Freshman All-American in 2018 and started 11 games in 2019 (six at right guard, two at right tackle, two at left guard, and one at left tackle).
Right now, it remains to be seen if Mays will be eligible for the 2020 season, but there’s optimism that he will. The Mays family has applied for an immediate eligibility waiver, and the NCAA is also likely to vote on a one-time transfer rule this offseason. Should that pass, then Mays will be granted immediate eligibility on the spot. Mays has two years of eligibility remaining after spending two seasons with Georgia.
Mays will join a Tennessee offensive line that has the potential to be the best in the SEC. The veteran lineman will join All-SEC guard Trey Smith, experienced starting center Brandon Kennedy, freshman standout Wanya Morris, and either rising sophomore Darnell Wright or redshirt junior K’Rojhn Calbert at right tackle.
Another transfer to Tennessee’s roster, USC grad transfer wide receiver Velus Jones Jr., earned a low three-star rating by 247Sports’ transfer rankings.
Last offseason, the Vols welcomed in Michigan defensive line transfer Aubrey Solomon and Georgia defensive back transfer Deangelo Gibbs to the roster. Solomon was granted immediate eligibility just before the beginning of the 2019 season, but Gibbs sat out and redshirted. He used that time to hone his skills as a wide receiver, and he’s projected as one of the Vols’ top three wideouts for the 2020 season.