It’s been over six months since Cade Mays officially announced his transfer from Georgia to Tennessee, yet Vol fans are still left wondering why UT hasn’t heard back from the NCAA about whether or not Mays will be eligible for the upcoming 2020 season, especially when players like quarterback JT Daniels just heard this week that he will be able to play immediately for the Bulldogs this season after transferring from USC.
Turns out, there’s a good reason why.
According to long-time Knoxville media member Jimmy Hyams, the appeal for Mays was not filed until last week, according to one of his sources. Mays transferred from UGA to UT in late December and was officially announced as part of Tennessee’s roster in January of this year.
The appeal for Tennessee OL transfer Cade Mays to be eligible right away was not filed until last week, a source said. Mays, who is from Knoxville, transferred from Georgia in December. His dad played for UT.
— Jimmy Hyams (@JimmyHyams) July 14, 2020
It’s worth noting that JT Daniels submitted a request for immediate eligibility in May of this year and heard back on Monday of this week. With the status of the 2020 season up in the air currently due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s unclear how long it will take Tennessee and Mays to hear back from the NCAA on his waiver.
Mays signed on with Georgia in the 2018 recruiting cycle after decommitting from Tennessee after pledging to them years earlier. The Vols’ tumultuous 2017 season led to Mays’ decommitment on November 7th, and head coach Butch Jones was fired shortly after that after the Vols’ 50-17 road loss to Missouri. Jeremy Pruitt made a push to try and win Mays back, but to no avail.
Now, two years later, Mays is in the orange and white after all.
At Georgia, Mays started six games at right guard, two at right tackle, two at left guard, and one at left tackle as a sophomore this past season, and he even played at center in the Bulldogs’ match-up with Missouri. Mays played in all 14 games this season after playing in 11 of 14 games as a true freshman a season ago. He was named to the coaches’ All-SEC Freshman team in 2018 and was a Freshman All-American as well.
Mays’ situation is far from a cut-and-dry one, however.
The Mays family is suing Georgia and a chair manufacturing company after Kevin Mays’ pinky finger had to be amputated following an incident at an UGA athletic event. This could potentially affect Cade Mays’ ability to gain immediate eligibility in a positive way, however. Tom Mars, who was serving as the family’s lawyer but stepped down back in May, felt confident that Cade Mays would be able to play right away.
“I can go on the record saying that I’m Cade’s lawyer and that, based on my investigation of the facts and circumstances, I’m confident Cade won’t have to sit out a year after he transfers,” Mars told the Atlanta Journal Constitution earlier this year.
Coming out of high school at Knoxville Catholic, Mays was ranked the No. 22 overall player in the class of 2018 according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. He was considered the No. 1 player in the state of Tennessee and the No. 3 offensive tackle in the country. His brother, Cooper, also attended Knoxville Catholic as an offensive lineman and signed with Tennessee in the 2020 recruiting cycle.
Cade and Cooper’s father, Kevin Mays, played for Tennessee from 1991-1994. He was an All-SEC guard and offensive captain in 1994.
The 6-foot-6, 328-pound junior would join a loaded roster along the offensive line for Tennessee in 2020 should he be granted immediate eligibility. The Vols return All-SEC guard Trey Smith for his senior season, and starting center Brandon Kennedy was granted a sixth year of eligibility this offseason. Rising sophomores Wanya Morris and Darnell Wright also return as Tennessee’s likely starting tackles.