ATHENS — Every so often you’ll see a truly terrible “house divided” license plate on the front of a car. For every Georgia-Florida one you see, you might also come across an Alabama-Georgia Tech one that really makes you scratch your head.
But for the Mays, Ojulari and Wolf families this week, it really will be a house divided between the brothers in each of those families. Azeez Ojulari, Cade Mays and Eli Wolf all play for the Bulldogs and will take the field against the Volunteers on Saturday. But there might be some conflicts in those families as for where their allegiances might lie for this weekend.
Wolf’s older brother Ethan played for Tennessee from 2014-17. Ojulari and Mays both have younger brothers who are committed members of Tennessee’s 2020 recruiting cycle.
For Mays in particular, this game will carry a much bigger meaning. He grew up and attended high school in Knoxville, Tenn., and his father also played for the Volunteers.
“He’s played in a lot of snaps, a lot of positions. I think he understands that he cannot let the emotion get the best of him,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said of Mays. “He knows a lot of the guys on their team and kind of was around a lot of them, but Cade gas good control, he has good self-control, and he understands what he can and can’t do.”
Mays was a longtime Tennessee commit during the recruiting process as well. But as the Butch Jones era at Tennessee disintegrated during the fall of 2017, Mays reopened his recruitment. To give an idea of set Mays was on attending Tennessee, he said he really didn’t have Georgia on his radar until mid-October. That came after the Bulldogs blew out Tennessee 41-0 during the 2017 season.
Mays announced that December that he would be attending Georgia. And almost instantly he received an overwhelming amount of social media vitriol from Tennessee fans. With Saturday being his first game in Neyland Stadium, the boos will no doubt be the loudest for Mays.
“I was getting all this hate, but I was doing something for me,” Mays said. “My parents told me it doesn’t really matter what the outside world thinks, my family loves me, and my God loves me.”
As for the other Bulldog with a brother committed to Tennessee, Ojulari indicated that his brother — B.J. — will be in attendance at the game as well. He and Azeez talk quite frequently and this week has been no exception. The older Ojulari — who has gotten off to a strong start for Georgia as he is tied for the team lead in sacks — did add that he’s still trying to convince his young brother to come to Georgia.
But as far as who his parents might be rooting for this weekend, Ojulari indicated that they’ll be supporting both teams.
While Mays is likely to get the most hate from opposing fans and Ojulari will have to hear his brother talk smack all week, this game might be the toughest emotionally for Wolf. Prior to transferring to Georgia this offseason, He spent the past four seasons as a member of the Volunteers, playing with the likes of quarterback Jarrett Guarantano and safety Nigel Warrior.
When Wolf has met with the media, Tennessee has been a popular topic of conversation, especially now that he’s playing for one of the best teams in the country while the Volunteers have gotten off to a disastrous 1-3 start.
But Wolf has tried his best at sidestepping taking any sort of shots at his former program. And while most Georgia fans enjoy seeing Tennessee struggle, Wolf very much does not.
“It doesn’t make me happy to see them lose and see their heartbreak like that,” Wolf said.
In addition to experiencing more team success, Wolf has enjoyed quite a bit more of personal success compared to his time in Knoxville. On the season, Wolf has 7 catches for 98 yards. In his three previous seasons at Tennessee, Wolf had 8 catches for just 86 yards.
For all three players, and their families as well, Saturday might not be the easiest of days. But all three Bulldogs indicated that regardless of the result on Saturday, they’re all still going to love and support their friends and families. Even if they might root for Tennessee.
“It’s going to matter one game in the fall, and after it’s over, those guys are still going to be my buddies in life,” Wolf said earlier this season. “So I’m not happy to see them lose, I still wish them the best, all except that one week in the fall.”
Georgia football coach Kirby Smart on facing Tennessee
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