KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Kirby Smart and Georgia are preparing for a College Football Playoff semifinal against Oklahoma, but the new early signing period couldn’t have come at a better time for the Bulldogs.
Wednesday, the Bulldogs reeled in one of the best recruiting classes in the nation, and one of the big gets was Knoxville Catholic five-star offensive tackle Cade Mays, the “Mr. Football” winner in the state of Tennessee.
At his announcement ceremony, Mays sat with his family at a table in the school’s gymnasium. He decided to forgo the traditional group of caps, and instead stood up, unbuttoned a couple of buttons and revealed a black T-shirt with the trademark “G” in the center.
“I just fell in love with Athens when I went there,” Mays said. “Coach Smart has the program going the right way. I have a great relationship with (offensive line) Coach (Sam) Pittman, the whole coaching staff. They really treated me like family, and that’s where I want to call home for the next four years.”
Mays originally committed to Tennessee in the summer of 2015. His dad, Kevin, was a Vols offensive linemen in the ’90s and blocked for Peyton Manning. His uncle, Michael Frogg, was a walk-on who became a starter at center in the mid-2000s. Cade Mays was an east Tennessee prospect who played high school football less than 15 miles from Neyland Stadium. He couldn’t wait to “Run Through the T.”
But because of the uncertainty surrounding Butch Jones, Mays decommitted on November 7. Jones was fired November 13.
Mays took his official visits, and had a final three of Clemson, Georgia and Ohio State. He was visited recently by new Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt and new Tennessee AD Phillip Fulmer, who coached his dad and uncle when they played for the Vols.
In the end, the chance to play at Georgia, with other five-star talents such as quarterback Justin Fields and defensive end Brenton Cox, who also picked the Bulldogs on Wednesday, was too much for him to pass up.
“We just signed the greatest class in the history of football,” Mays said. “We are gonna do something special with it, I promise you that.”
Mays will play in the U.S. Army All-American Game next month, then will get ready for Athens.
(You can follow Mark Nagi on Twitter @MarkNagi)
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