1. Cooper Mays
Brandon Kennedy is gone, and Cooper Mays was always recruited to be his replacement. Mays’ arrival as a four-star in 2020 is what resulted in Tennessee football luring elite offensive lineman Cade Mays to transfer back from the Georgia Bulldogs, and now they can start on the line together. We’ll get to his brother later in the post, though.
Cooper Mays made two starts at center last year and appeared in all 10 games. The 6’3″ 295-pound sophomore is already in a great position to burst onto the scene, and his presence had to make it easier for Josh Heupel to be able to install his offense in the spring. With lots of experience and more development, look for this guy to be a standout blocker in 2021.
2. Ollie Lane
Although he didn’t see any action for Tennessee football in 2018 or 2020, Ollie Lane has been practicing at this level for three years, and he did see action in three games in 2019. Also, there aren’t many options beyond Mays right now at this key position.
The 6’4″ 325-pound redshirt junior committed to the Vols as a three-star center, so this is where he is most familiar playing. With a need for depth, he’ll likely be the backup here, and don’t be surprised if he sees a good bit of action in the rotation.