NCAA clears Vols offensive lineman Cade Mays to play this season

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee offensive lineman Cade Mays has been cleared by the NCAA to play for the Vols this fall.

Coach Jeremy Pruitt made the announcement Thursday during his post-practice press conference. The 5-star high school recruit from Knoxville Catholic started 18 games at four different positions in his final two seasons for the Bulldogs.

Mays was denied immediate eligibility in August after transferring from the University of Georgia in January.

The 6-foot-6, 320-pound junior is expected to start for the Vols.

Teammate Trey Smith expressed his displeasure Tuesday in the NCAA’s decision to deny Mays’ initial eligibility.

“The people that are making these decisions are just sitting in the meeting room, just drinking coffee and looking at the paper,” Smith said.

“If the people eating in meeting rooms and wearing suits and walking around all day don’t want to clear this kid who’s busting his butt, bleeding, sweating, getting hit on the field consistently, then that’s their choice and that’s their option. At the end of the day, do right by a kid who’s working hard and working his butt of and trying to be great. That’s how I look at it.”

Smith said he’s wanted to play alongside Mays since high school where the former five-star prospects often found themselves in similar circles, crossing paths at events like the Tennessee Titans annual Mr. Football awards banquet, and have kept in touch ever since.

Cade Mays’ brother Cooper is also on the squad. Their father Kevin Mays lettered for the Vols from 1991-94 and was a team captain.

Cade Mays had filed a motion with the NCAA to reconsider his eligibility for the 2020 season. Knoxville attorney Greg Isaacs filed the motion two weeks ago.

“We are pleased that the NCAA considered our additional information and made a decision in the best interest of an exceptional young man and student-athlete,” Isaacs said Thursday.

Mays’ fate is now in the SEC’s hands since he is transferring between conference rivals.


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