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Tennessee All-SEC Offensive Lineman Returning For Super Senior Season

Photo via Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee center Cooper Mays is returning for his super senior season, he announced on X (formerly Twitter) on Friday afternoon.

“Back to finish what I started,” Mays said in the post.

Mays started at center for the Vols each of the last three years and is a major part of one of the SEC’s better offensive lines.

Injuries are the only thing that have held Mays back in his collegiate career. Mays missed five games with an injury during his sophomore season in 2021 and had to leave a couple others with injuries. The Knoxville native had his best fit of health in 2022 when he started in all 13 games. This past season, Mays missed the first four games of the season with a sports hernia and exited the regular-season finale against Vanderbilt in the first quarter with an injury.

Tennessee’s offensive line, and particularly run blocking, improved drastically when Mays returned against South Carolina which illustrated how important the starting center was to the Vols’ offensive line. Mays earned Second Team All-SEC honors for his play during his senior season.

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According to PFF, Mays earned a 62.9 grade in 423 plays during the regular season. The grade was the second best amongst Tennessee offensive linemen and the ninth best amongst Tennessee offensive players.

Tennessee’s ability to retain its veteran offensive linemen has been its biggest win of the offseason to date. Starting offensive tackles Gerald Mincey and John Campbell Jr. have both announced their intentions to return for their redshirt senior and super senior seasons, respectively.

The final piece to the puzzle is senior right guard Javontez Spraggins who is one of the SEC’s best run blockers. Spraggins has one year of eligibility remaining and didn’t go through Senior Day festivities against Vanderbilt. However, Spraggins hasn’t officially announced his plans for next season.

Left guard Ollie Lane is out of eligibility and is the only Tennessee starting offensive lineman that definitively won’t be back next season.

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