Sophomore Cade Mays from Catholic High (Knoxville, Tenn.) doesn’t just want to be a great offensive lineman in college. He wants to be part of a great team.
That’s why the 6-foot-5, 305-pound Tennessee commitment is taking it on himself to recruit several prospects to play college football with him in Knoxville.
Here are some of the most notable:
- Emil Ekiyor – Cathedral High (Indianapolis, Ind.) – A 2018 prospect like Mays, Ekiyor has nine reported scholarship offers. The 6-foot-3, 285-pound offensive guard will be tough to pry away from teams in the Midwest, such as Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State. However, Ekiyor has shown interest in the SEC, namely Tennessee and Kentucky.
- Jaelen Gill – South High School (Westerville, Ohio) – Gill, a sophomore tailback, has shown recent, strong interest in Tennessee. The 6-foot, 165-pound prospect has reported scholarship offers from Tennessee, Toledo, Pittsburgh, Kentucky, Penn State, Cincinnati, Ohio State, Michigan State, Purdue and Illinois.
- Verone McKinley III – Prestonwood Christian Academy (Plano, Texas) – McKinley, a 2018 prospect, has seen his recruitment take off since his first scholarship offer, from LSU in May. The 5-9, 165-pound cornerback also has scholarship offers from Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. He is also considering Texas and Tennessee.
- Amari Rodgers – Catholic High School (Knoxville, Tenn.) – This 4-star receiver is easy for Mays to recruit; they’re teammates. Rodgers, who is a senior, committed to Southern California where his father, former Tennessee quarterback Tee Martin, is the receivers coach under an interim head coach. Rodgers will consider wherever his father ends up. He is also considering Alabama and Tennessee. The 5-10, 185-pound prospect is the No. 37 receiver in the nation and No. 8 prospect in Tennessee.
- Trey Smith – University School of Jackson (Jackson, Tenn.) – This 4-star offensive lineman is thought to be primarily considering Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss and Tennessee. The 6-foot-5.5-inch, 288-pound junior prospect has 19 reported scholarship offers. He is rated the No. 14 offensive tackle in the nation and the No. 4 prospect in Tennessee.
Mays’ most recent recruiting victory came when he convinced Gill to visit Knoxville for the South Carolina game on Nov. 7. Gill raved about the visit to SEC Country earlier this week. Mays believes the key to recruiting future Vols is to get them to a Tennessee game.
“You just can’t find anywhere else like it,” Mays said. “I think people see it when they come visit. I’ve had some guys that I’ve talked into coming, like Jaelen Gill from Ohio. He told me when he left ‘You were right, there’s no place like this.’”
That’s why Mays hasn’t missed a Tennessee home game this season and why he keeps inviting others to join him.
“Cade is a cool dude,” McKinley said with a chuckle. “He’s always trying to get me to come to Knoxville. I talk to Cade a lot. Cade is a good friend of mine.”