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“Common sense” to allow Cade Mays to play in eyes of Jeremy Pruitt

(Photo courtesy of 247Sports)

Cade Mays was recently denied immediate-eligibility by the NCAA after transferring from Georgia, Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt announced last Monday as fall camp began for the Vols.

Tennessee has appealed the NCAA’s decision, while Mays’ lawyer Gregory P. Isaacs has begun arguing that Mays was in a “toxic environment” while at Georgia, Isaacs told Knox News last week. Isaacs did not represent Mays during his initial waiver bid, but is doing so during his appeal.

“Cade (Mays) is a guy that, based on none of his doings, he had nothing to do with it, there is a circumstance there obviously with a lawsuit between his parents and the University of Georgia,” Pruitt said Friday during a post-practice press conference on Zoom with reporters. “Him electing to transfer, and us applying for a waiver, to me it’s just common sense. If there is a lawsuit going on with your employer, it’s probably not the healthiest situation in the world. And that’s not bashing anybody at Georgia. That’s just common sense to me.

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. Cade Mays’ lawyer at the time, Tom Mars, who was also serving as the families’ lawyer, felt confident that Cade Mays would be able to play right away.

“And (the lawsuit) was something that started while he was there,” Pruitt said. “I’m sure he worked hard to be the best player he could be. And I’m sure there was probably pressure on both sides, from their coaching staff to him as a player. It’s just something that doesn’t happen a whole lot. It is an unusual circumstance.

“Hopefully he’ll get a chance to play this year. He’s working hard every day, just like he’s going to (play). It would be very disappointing on many levels if any kid in this pandemic is denied the opportunity to play.”

Mays joined his little brother, Cooper, on campus for the spring semester after Tennessee officially announced the addition of the oldest Mays brother on Jan. 9. The younger Mays brother signed with the Vols during the early signing period as a four-star center out of Knoxville Catholic High School. Cade Mays played at Knoxville Catholic as well, but signed with Georgia out of high school following the firing of Butch Jones. Mays was once committed to the Vols but decommitted prior to Jones’ firing.

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.

In the meantime, Mays is still preparing to play this season during practice.

“We two-spot, so everybody gets the same amount of reps,” Pruitt said. “Cade is in there, he’s working just like everybody else.”

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.

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