Tennessee is looking to recapture its glory from the 1990s. Join us daily at SEC Country for the latest Tennessee recruiting news and notes on the next crop of Volunteers. Check out previous editions here. In this edition, we discuss Tennessee’s longest commitment in the 2018 class, Cade Mays.
Tennessee has held a commitment from offensive lineman Cade Mays for more than two years. He has been the staple of the Class of 2018 haul for the Vols.
Mays also acts as the lead peer recruiter for the class with a certain focus. He was on the Commitment Issues podcast and discussed his recruiting strategies.
“I took it upon myself to reach out to these in-state guys and let them see all these SEC teams are winning with kids in their home state,” Mays said. “That’s something Tennessee has been missing the last few years, and coach [Butch] Jones has done a great job of getting in-state kids the last few years. This year, I think, is our strongest year.”
He has done a great job so far, too. The Vols have nine commitments from the Volunteer State in a class that ranks No. 6 in the country, according to the 247Sports team rankings.
Mays has talked to a few prospects from outside the state, but he wants to win with guys from Tennessee.
“I’ve branched out a little bit,” Mays said. “Just getting those in-state guys helps tremendously because we’ve got a great class.”
Cade Mays’ journey
Mays didn’t always know he was going to be a Vol. He didn’t know a commitment would come before his sophomore season.
The timing worked out, and Mays jumped at the opportunity.
“I didn’t know when I was going to commit,” Mays said. “I was just going to commit when it felt right to me. It was the right decision, and I did a lot of praying and stuff about it. I looked around a little bit, but I feel like I made the right decision for me.”
The Vols camp was the first one he attended when he was in ninth grade. Mays had never taken football seriously until Jones took him seriously.
“It was the first camp I went to when I got that Tennessee offer going into ninth grade,” Mays said. “I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know they offered kids this early. So, I went to camp and did enough to come out with an offer, and that’s when I realized this was going to be my way of making something special happen.”
Mays’ commitment has never wavered and schools have given up on trying to the flip the 6-foot-5.5, 305-pound lineman.
“I get a bunch of mail,” Mays said. “Nobody really calls me anymore because I stopped replying. I never reply, so they took me off the call list or whatever.”
Mays is listed as a 5-star prospect on almost every recruiting website. He used to care about the stars and rankings. Now, he understands there’s something bigger on the horizon.
“When I was a freshman and a sophomore when the rankings first came out, it kind of tore me up because I wasn’t where I wanted to be,” Mays said. “But now, everything gets put into perspective. It’s all about what you do when you get out of high school.”
Cade Mays’ importance
Mays has remained constant throughout the class going back over two years. This has been of great use to Jones and the rest of the coaching staff.
Mays ranks as the No. 15 prospect in the country and the second-best offensive tackle, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
Mays will always be the best player committed to the Vols in this class. That’s important because the rest of the commits seem to take their cues from him.
With such a solidly committed player at the top of the class, it makes it less likely commits might think about flipping to other schools. The commits have their own group text and have friendships blossom through it.
With Mays as the ring leader, Tennessee is in a good spot to keep its commits all the way through signing day. His passion for Tennessee is real and trickles down to the other commits.
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