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Let's take a good look at the prospects that Cade Mays winds up with Georgia

UGA recruiting: The chances appear legit with 5-star prospect Cade Mays

Jeff Sentell

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. The budget for Wednesday calls for a thorough summary of the 11th-hour efforts from the Bulldogs to add 5-star offensive lineman Cade Mays to the 2018 class. 

Could this really happen?

Cade Mays and Georgia? Cade Mays to UGA and not Tennessee?

Hmm. Let’s chew on this for a little bit.

DawgNation has learned the de-commitment from Mays was an eventuality. It was not just a knee-jerk reaction to his unofficial visit to Georgia over the weekend.

Cade Mays-UGA recruiting
Five-star prospect Cade Mays looked to have a great unofficial visit last Saturday at Georgia for the South Carolina game. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Clemson also has had Mays on campus for an unofficial visit, and the Tigers will get the nation’s No. 2 offensive tackle on campus for an official visit, too.

That’s the balance necessary for a discussion like this one.

If things do not evolve with the staff at Tennessee, it is a sure bet Mays will not play for the school where his father was a team captain for Phillip Fulmer in the 1990s.

The things I’m hearing lead me to believe the Bulldogs are in a very good spot. Mays is set to take his official visit to UGA on Dec. 16. That’s right before he is expected to make his college decision known on Dec. 20.

The decision to de-commit might have been planned, but it was not an easy one.

If he does choose the Bulldogs, it would mean another 5-star in the Class of 2018 ― quarterback Justin Fields and running back Zamir While already have given their verbal commitments ― for the Bulldogs. There also remains the possibility to add up to three more: cornerback Tyson Campbell from Florida, defensive end/outside linebacker KJ Henry from North Carolina and guard Jamaree Salyer from Atlanta.

Should Mays choose Georgia, that would mean offensive line coach Sam Pittman would have another one of the nation’s top 10 offensive line prospects, at their respective positions, in his room. The Bulldogs signed five players like that in 2017 and have a shot to add four similar athletes in 2018.

How rare would that be in Athens? Consider this: The Bulldogs signed and enrolled just 11 offensive line prospects who rated among the nation’s top 10 at their positions in the 10 recruiting cycles prior to 2017.

Cade Mays-UGA recruiting
Cade Mays ranks as the nation’s No. 2 offensive tackle for 2018, but he could also be a guard in the SEC. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Former coach Mark Richt’s teams didn’t have those elite classes of road graders up front. That might be one reason why his best teams never won the very big games.

The football program under Kirby Smart is making that its calling card. The Bulldogs could continue to emphasize that it all starts up front with this class.

That said, those recruiting rankings aren’t always spot-on. Cordy Glenn was not rated among the nation’s top 15 players at his position coming out of his high school. But he was the most recent UGA offensive lineman to be selected in the first three rounds of the NFL draft. That was in 2012.

Glenn signed a 5-year, $65 million extension with the Buffalo Bills before the 2016 season.

The Glenn example represents a couple of things.

  • The Bulldogs haven’t been bringing in top OL recruits.
  • That was a poor draft performance for a program that aspired to play big games in December.
  • Pittman’s charge has been to change that. He has so far.

My sources suggest UGA has a very good shot with Mays, but I needed to preface the big picture before we get to the nitty-gritty.

How do the Georgia commits feel about Cade Mays? 

Warren Ericson, the 4-star OL prospect from North Gwinnett, has said he now plans to enroll early. He ranks as the nation’s No. 5 center in the Class of 2018 and as the No. 311 player overall, according to the 247Sports composite.

What does he think about Mays?

“He would be a huge addition,” Ericson said. “Him, along with Jamaree [Salyer] and Trey [Hill] would make it a class of [Sam] Pittman’s dreams.”

Cade Mays-UGA recruiting
Warren Ericson (left), Cade Mays (middle left), Sam Pittman (center), Jamaree Salyer (middle right) and Trey Hill (right) posed for a few pictures prior to the South Carolina game on Saturday. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Ericson said he thinks Mays is giving Georgia a very hard look.

“I hope that he is,” Ericson said. “We seemed to connect really well on Saturday. After the game, I spent a good amount of time with him and Jamaree in Pittman’s office.”

Kearis Jackson, a Georgia wide receiver commit, saw Mays over the weekend. Jackson took his official visit to UGA over the South Carolina game weekend. He tweeted yesterday that he was “on a mission.”

It just might be to help bring Mays to Athens.

Jackson is already on duty for doing the same with Salyer and Hill, a 4-star offensive guard. Those two have been longstanding priorities for the 2018 class.

“Cade is a grown man,” Jackson said. “He has great size, and if he comes in, we will have three monsters coming in on the OL.”

Owen Condon, the only commit at tackle in the class so far, said he sees great potential with adding Mays to the class.

“I’d love to have Cade join this class,” Condon told DawgNation. “I’ve been in touch with him recently and he seems like a great guy. Adding him to the OL class would give us a full offensive line. Because in my opinion, we are going to get Trey and Jamaree. So that would give us two [offensive tackles] and three offensive guards and centers.”

Owen Condon-UGA recruiting
Big 6-foot-7 Oklahoma OT Owen Condon shed some light on the way Georgia will always stack up the elite OL talent under Sam Pittman. (Jeff Sentell/Dawgnation)

His thoughts also shed the right perspective on the Georgia way when it comes to stacking up elite players at every position.

“I would put that group against any other offensive line class this year for sure,” Condon said. “It would add a ton of talent to an O-line room that already has a ton of talent from last year’s class. That’s the way it has to be, though. Because the competition is what makes everyone better and brings the best out of the team because there’s no room to be complacent when there’s a guy behind you fighting for your spot.”

Condon’s thought is to look for UGA to make whatever room is required for Mays.

“Cade is just a guy you can’t turn down,” Condon told DawgNation. “So we’ll take five [OLs] if it is that five.”

Tough news for a big UGA O-line commit 

Luke Griffin, a junior offensive tackle commit for the Bulldogs in the Class of 2019, now has another tough knee injury to bounce back from.

Luke Griffin-UGA recruiting
4-star OT Luke Griffin was the first member of the 2019 recruiting class at UGA. He committed last summer. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

It is his other knee this time. His left knee and the words “torn ACL” apply here. The 4-star OT will have another knee surgery Monday.

It will be his second surgery in less than a year.

Griffin committed to UGA last summer and was the first member of the highly regarded 2019 class. 

He’s had a rocky road since he committed to UGA. He also suffered a concussion last season that turned out to be a blessing for him and his family. 

He’s a frequent visitor to UGA games. Griffin is a very likable kid. He has worn that big smile and an oversized No. 34 UGA jersey at the games he has attended this season.

The 6-foot-6, 280-pound player ranks as the nation’s No. 21 offensive tackle and No. 167 prospect overall for 2019.

 

Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed faster than Georgia All-American candidate Roquan Smith can find the football after the snap.