The Vols have been able to keep another blue-chip in-state prospect to stay home. During today’s early signing period, Tennessee signed Cooper Mays from their backyard at Knoxville Catholic. Cooper, a 6’2”, 280-pound offensive lineman, is a four-star Center prospect per 247Sports Composite. He also ranks as the number six player at his position per the 247Sports Composite. The in-state standout is the son of former Tennessee lineman Kevin Mays. He is also the younger brother of current Georgia standout Cade Mays, who spurned the Vols for their rival in the 2018 signing class. Keeping Mays at home was a big win for the program. He had competing offers from divisional rivals Florida and Georgia as well as LSU, Auburn, and Ohio State, among others.
Mays film shows a very athletic, explosive player for a big man. He is slightly undersized for the SEC trenches at 280-pounds, but this can be remedied through Craig Fitzgerald’s strength and conditioning program. He does plan to enroll early at this stage, which could only help in this regard. The sooner he can get into an SEC training program, the better the outlook for the talented prospect. He uses his athleticism to block exceptionally well on linebackers and in space. He is often seen in film reaching the second level and creating great running lanes for his teammates. Being from a football family with an excellent pedigree, he already has a high football IQ and solid fundamentals to build upon.
Cooper Mays’ Impact to 2020 Tennessee Vols
Cooper Mays signing with Tennessee provides an excellent complement to the talented offensive tackles signed during last year’s class in Darnell Wright and Wanya Morris. He is an interior lineman who fits Jeremy Pruitt’s vision of a nasty, physical offensive line. With two consecutive exceptional offensive line classes, the Vols are on their way to making that vision a reality.
SEC football is built in the trenches. Head coach Jeremy Pruitt made it clear Tennessee was going to be a big, dominating, aggressive, relentless football team that wore down their opponents under his tutelage. Fiery competitors such as Cooper Mays will help his Tennessee team get them. With junior star Trey Smith likely departing for the NFL and experienced redshirt junior Ryan Johnson transferring, there is some open competition for a starting spot along the offensive line for 2020. Regardless, the signing of Mays shows Tennessee is building some much needed blue-chip depth in the trenches.