Tennessee football recruiting got a big in-state pickup Friday. Four-star Knoxville, Tenn. offensive lineman Cooper Mays, committed to the Volunteers.
While Tennessee basketball spent the day celebrating former players making the pros, Tennessee football added another elite player to its future. Jeremy Pruitt secured a huge pickup for the Vols Friday afternoon from a local product.
Rocky Top received a commitment from Cooper Mays, a four-star center on Rivals out of Knoxville Catholic High School in Knoxville. He is the 10th commitment in UT’s 2020 recruiting class, the third offensive lineman and the sixth four-star.
A legacy player, Mays is only the second player from within the state to commit to Tennessee football for 2020, joining two-star Greenville prospect and fellow offensive lineman Will Albright. He announced his commitment to the Vols on Twitter Friday afternoon.
Mays is the younger brother of Cade Mays, a five-star lineman from the 2018 recruiting class who committed to the Vols in 2017 but rescinded that commitment amidst all the coaching drama and eventually chose the Georgia Bulldogs. There was major fallout from that drama.
Both are the sons of Kevin Mays, an All-SEC guard who played for the Vols from 1991 to 1994, learning under Johnny Majors, Phillip Fulmer and David Cutcliffe. Despite the fallout from 2017, Cade Mays tweeted out his support for his brother as well.
Listed at 6’3″ 272 pounds, Cooper Mays is a huge get for Tennessee football. He immediately helps restock the Vols at center, where Brandon Kennedy and Ryan Johnson, the only two proven guys there, are a redshirt senior and redshirt junior respectively this year.
On top of that, given all the attrition that has already happened on the line combined with how historically bad it already was last year, Pruitt was not going to fix all his problems with one great recruiting class there, which he got in 2019. He needed more.
Even with that 2019 class, one of the commitments, Melvin McBride, another in-state prospect from Memphis, had to retire due to health reasons. So Mays’s commitment is a huge deal in multiple ways on the line.
Currently, Mays is ranked at No. 250 among Rivals players nationally, and he’s the No. 2 ranked player overall at his position. Within the state of Tennessee, he is the No. 13 ranked player overall, which gives you insight into how much deeper the state is this year when it comes to prospects. Here is a look at his highlight reel.
More from Vols Football
- How to Win a GUARANTEED $200 Bonus Betting Just $5 on the Vols vs. Florida!
- Tennessee Football at Florida: Five Keys to a Vols Victory
- Week 3 SEC Power Rankings: Did Tennessee Football’s Win Help At All?
- Week 3 AP Polls: Why Did Tennessee Football Drop in the Polls?
- Tennessee Football: Top Five Performers in 30-13 Win vs. Austin Peay
As you can see, Mays shows enough versatility to be able to line up at guard or center. That’s a big deal, especially if Pruitt can lure another center to Rocky Top. And being all-state and the regional offensive lineman of the year has to count for something.
Mays will likely immediately come in and play center though considering the state of the roster at this moment. He may need to put on a bit of weight, but there’s plenty of time for him to be able to do that.
Also, don’t underestimate the impact Jim Chaney had in Mays’s commitment. When Cade Mays flipped from the Vols to Georgia, he flipped to a UGA program that had Chaney as offensive coordinator at the time, and he helped Kirby Smart secure the greatest recruiting class in history.
Between Chaney now as Tennessee football’s offensive coordinator and Will Friend as the offensive line coach, Cooper Mays has to know he’ll be able to develop really well. Simply put, Mays is a huge pickup for the Vols, who already had a top 25 class on Rivals before his commitment. This will only boost that ranking.