The 6-foot-3, 283-pound Mays, who’s the younger brother of Georgia offensive lineman Cade Maysand the son of former Tennessee lineman Kevin Mays, said he was happy to see Chaney watching from the sideline Monday afternoon.
“He came and watched the first half of the practice, which is offense. He watched everything I did on offense,” said the younger Mays, who’s ranked by 247Sports as the No. 305 overall prospect and No. 5 center in the 2020 class and the No. 8 rising senior from the state of Tennessee.
“All the staff at UT — (head coach Jeremy) Pruitt, (offensive line coach Will) Friend, (tight ends coach Brian) Niedermeyer — they all texted me and said that Chaney had good things to say about me, so I was happy with it.”
Mays has yet to name any favorites, but he has made it clear that he’s high on the Vols for multiple reasons, including his family ties to the program, his proximity to Tennessee’s campus and the way he’s being recruited by Pruitt’s staff.
One of the main things he likes about Tennessee, he said, is the idea of “just staying home.”
“East Tennessee has been my home my whole life, so that familiar feel,” Mays said. “I mean, they’re a family. I know what I’m getting into and I know who’s there, so I’m comfortable there a little bit.”
Less than three weeks removed from his official visit to Tennessee, he said his weekend stay with the Vols “was more of just getting familiar with everybody.”
“I haven’t really been on any other official visits of my own to really compare it to, so I don’t really know,” Mays said. “I just appreciated the time they took out of their days to spend with me. Each coach spent a lot of time. We got to go over to Coach Pruitt’s house, and he accepted us into his home, so that’s a big deal to me.”
Since then, a handful of Tennessee’s coaches have continued to talk with him frequently.
He said he’s still hearing plenty from several teams, but he “probably” talks with a greater number of coaches at Tennessee than at any of the other schools recruiting him “because I have, like, four coaches from Tennessee texting me at the same time.”
“I usually get on the phone with Coach Friend and Coach Pruitt, like, twice or three times a week,” Mays said, “and then Niedermeyer probably texts me on a daily basis.”
Mays said he likes that the Vols’ coaches are “just coming through with their word” on their plans for rebuilding Tennessee’s program.
“They said they were going to improve each year,” he said. “They came out this spring and looked a lot better than they did last time, so that’s just a big step forward on their part and kind of an eye-opening thing for me.”
Georgia hosted Mays on his most recent visit two weeks ago for the Bulldogs’ spring game, giving him another opportunity to spend time with his brother and some of Georgia coach Kirby Smart’s staff, led by offensive line coach Sam Pittman.
“It was pretty good,” Mays said. “Just watched the spring game, got to talk with Pitt a little bit. That was about it. It was a good time. I was in Georgia all weekend. I stopped by all Saturday and spent that (day) at Georgia, and then I went up north to my uncle’s house, hung out at his house, and then we celebrated Easter the next morning.”
Mays said he doesn’t “really know yet” when he might visit Tennessee again, “but I’ll probably be over there soon.”
He said he currently plans to take more official visits, “hopefully this summer,” although he doesn’t have any additional trips scheduled at this point. He added that he “for sure” wants to take more official visits before deciding on a school.
“I’m trying to set up a few more official visits, I think, but that’s about it,” Mays said. “I mean, I don’t really know (where I might visit) yet. I’m just trying to put them together right now.”
While Mays is not sure exactly when he might be ready to make his college decision, he said it’s still probably “a little bit down the road.”
“I’m not really sure yet when specifically. I don’t know — a few months,” he said, adding that he “maybe” will choose a school before the start of his senior season. “I’m not sure. I don’t really have anything set right now.”
Developing talent approach will work. But, this is fortunately the SEC. You gotta have talent to win 7 & 8 games even. I think the developing talent approach is good for maybe 1 extra win we werent supposed to have.