6’3″ 295 pounds; Hometown: Knoxville, Tenn.
Sticking with the sons of Kevin Mays who graduate from Knox County’s Knoxville Catholic High School, Cade Mays’ brother is now crucial to Tennessee football. We mentioned the departure of Brandon Kennedy on the previous slide. Well, that leaves Cooper Mays, who always was expected to be a star, as the only true center on the roster.
Because of the nature of playing center, the younger Mays is actually more important to stay healthy than the older Mays, even if the older Mays is more talented. Both are crucial, but the Vols have nobody else who can play center right now.
Given Josh Heupel’s system, the fundamentals of playing center are crucial. Players have to be able to master that art, and we know Cooper Mays can master it, as he was able to appear in every game last year and even made two starts at the position.
If he goes down this year, the Vols will take a huge hit on the offensive line. They took a hit on the interior in general, but losing Mays would leave them thin on the interior and without a proven center. That’s the last thing Heupel needs as he tries to install his offense his first year on the job.