KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The news most Tennessee fans were dreading to hear finally broke Tuesday morning.
Tennessee lost its longest-tenured commit in Cade Mays when the 5-star offensive lineman from Knoxville Catholic made the decision public via Twitter.
“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Please respect my decision. pic.twitter.com/ANvoIpP1Bf
— Cade Mays (@_mayc2) November 7, 2017
Mays took any mention of Tennessee off of his Twitter profile after the 41-0 loss to Georgia on Sept. 30. It was generally believed his silence and lack of commenting about his recruitment was a positive for the Vols. Obviously, this was not the case.
Mays’ de-commitment sets back the Vols’ Class of 2018. He was the lone 5-star commit and had been the cornerstone for more than two years. Mays’ father, Kevin, played for Tennessee in the 1990s. Cade grew up a Tennessee fan and going to games in Neyland Stadium.
The Mays de-commitment could be the domino that begins the chain reaction to topple what was once the best class in the SEC.
It’s also a terrible look for coach Butch Jones, who has possibly been coaching for his job the past few weeks. Tennessee lost local (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) 5-star commit Tee Higgins last season to Clemson. Could losing Knoxville native Mays be the final nail in the coffin?
It can’t be overstated how much Mays played a role in peer-recruiting in-state commits. Tennessee now holds seven commitments from the Volunteer State. More de-commitments could be coming as well. Mays was truly seen as the linchpin of the class for the Vols. Mays becomes the fourth de-commitment from the Vols since October. He joins Brendon Harris (safety), Jatavious Harris (wide receiver) and Lyn-J Dixon (running back).
Losing the best and longest-tenured commit will send shock waves through any class.
The 6-foot-6, 318-pound offensive tackle took visits to Clemson and Georgia over the past two weeks. He has another visit to Clemson lined up in two weeks.
Mays has been adamant about wanting to win a national championship in college. It’s similar to the goal he held his senior season for Knoxville Catholic School, to win a state championship.
The Vols just aren’t in a position to compete for a national championship. Tennessee holds a 4-5 record, with every loss this season coming to SEC teams.
If Tennessee was humming along and showing signs of progress, Mays very well might still be committed. He said in a podcast with Woody Wommack in early September that no teams talked to him anymore because they knew he was solid with the Vols. It’s clear the Vols’ record played a large role in the de-commitment.
Losing Mays shows just how far Tennessee has dropped off since the 5-0 start to the 2016 season.