As it stands right now, Cade Mays will not be suiting up for the Tennessee Volunteers this season, as the NCAA denied his request for immediate eligibility after transferring from Georgia in January. Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt said the school will appeal the decision.
Mays, who is from Knoxville, Tenn., transferred to Tennessee in part to play with his brother, who signed as a 4-star member of the 2020 recruiting class. Mays’ parents are also suing the University of Georgia stemming from an incident that occurred on Mays’ official visit to Georgia as a recruit.
Mays’ former teammate Nolan Smith tweeted shortly after the news was announced.
The grass is not always greener on the other side…
— Nolan Smith II (@SmithNoland2) August 17, 2020
Mays started 18 games for Georgia over the course of his first two years in the program after signing as a 5-star member in Georgia’s 2018 class. In his final game for Georgia in the 2020 Sugar Bowl, Mays got the start at left tackle after Andrew Thomas sat out the game. Had Mays stayed at Georgia, he very likely would’ve been one of the favorites to man either the right or left tackle spot for the Bulldogs.
Georgia did bring in a player this offseason who did successfully get a waiver, as the NCAA granted quarterback JT Daniels immediate eligibility after transferring from USC. One difference is that Daniels redshirted his sophomore year after tearing his ACL in the opening game of the 2019 season.
This is not the first time the NCAA has denied a former Bulldog of immediate eligibility, even though he moved closer to home. Former Georgia tight end Luke Ford had to sit out the entire 2019 season after transferring to Illinois. Conversely, Justin Fields was granted eligibility for the 2019 season after transferring to Ohio State.
Mays was originally committed to Tennessee when he went through the recruiting process. But he backed off that pledge as the Butch Jones era collapsed and ultimately picked the Bulldogs.
Tennessee will play Georgia this season with or without Mays, and a date for the game will be announced on Monday night when the SEC releases its schedule.
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