By Alex Norman
Cooper Mays is one of the most heavily sought after football recruits in Tennessee for the Class of 2020. The Knoxville Catholic standout is rated as a four-star prospect by 247 Sports, and is currently ranked in their top 10 in the Volunteer state.
The good news for Vols fans is that Mays won’t be traveling very far next year. Recently, Mays verbally committed to Tennessee.
“The biggest thing for me is that it was close to home,” said Mays. “I’m not a big fan of major changes in my life. It feels like family and I’ve always been able to call it home so that was a big thing for me.”
The recruiting process can be a long and tiring one, and just because Mays has verbally committed doesn’t mean that other programs won’t still make their case. But Mays said that he won’t be taking any other official visits. He’s set to stay in Knoxville for the next few years.
“Honestly I didn’t love it (the recruiting process) or hate it,” said Mays. “It was just kind of there. I’m not really big into drama or media attention or anything so it wasn’t that big a deal to me and I didn’t get caught up in making my decision. It was a process and I didn’t get too high or too low about it.”
Cooper could lean on his brother Cade a bit when necessary. Cade was a top prospect in the Class of 2018 and Cooper had a front row seat during Cade’s recruitment.
“I learned a bit, just the basics,” said Mays. “Kinda of take everything these coaches tell you with a grain of salt. Don’t let yourself get a big head because these coaches are telling you that you are the greatest thing since sliced bread.”
Cade Mays was a long time Tennessee commit. But with the Tennessee program in in a state of turmoil at the end of the Butch Jones era, he chose to look elsewhere. Cade picked Georgia, where he was a starter on the Bulldogs offensive line as a true freshman. Cooper did receive a scholarship offer from Georgia, but said Cade never put any pressure on him to come to Athens.
“He was happy for me,” said Mays. “He was proud of me. He wants me to be happy and knows that I’ll be happy at UT.”
Now, Cade Mays is concentrating on his senior season at Knoxville Catholic, and preparing himself to play at the next level. “I’m working on just refining my technique,” said Mays. “Hands, leverage, pad level, and just keeping my feet really good.”
Cade’s father, Kevin Mays, was a big part of the offensive line that protected Peyton Manning in the 1990s. Cade’s uncle, Michael Frogg, played on Tennessee’s offensive line in the 2000s.
The legacy continues.
“Some coaches think I can play defensive line there,” said Mays. “Others think center or tight end. But they asked me (what I preferred) and I said center, so that’s where I’ll be playing (at Tennessee) I’m pretty sure.”