- Advertisement -

Tennessee C Cooper Mays, “I’m not doing senior day”

- Advertisement -

Tennessee center Cooper Mays isn’t ready to announce he’ll return next season, but it certainly seems as if that’s the case.

Mays, who enrolled at Tennessee in 2020, has one year of eligibility remaining due to the extra season granted to all college athletes due to Covid. Mays told Off The Hook Sports he will not participate in senior day festivities against Vanderbilt in Neyland Stadium on Sunday, which is a pretty strong sign that he intends to return to Tennessee instead of leaving for the NFL.

“I’m not doing senior day,” Mays said during the Vol Report. “I’m not really sure on my plans just yet. I’ve got to work some stuff out.”

- Advertisement -

Mays was arguably Tennessee’s most valuable player this season as the Vols fell short of preseason expectations with losses to Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Missouri. Mays was certainly missed most against the Gators in September as Tennessee’s offense, particularly the offensive line, struggled in a loss to the Gators.

“Pretty big, pretty substantial probably,” Mays said during the Vol Report when asked how significant his contribution to Tennessee’s football team was when he was healthy. “If you look at what happens when I’m not out there, I feel like it shows that I’m a pretty key piece to bringing us all together and everything. So, I don’t know how much value it is, but I’d say pretty substantial.”

That may be a massive understatement considering Mays is also considered one of the top leaders among Tennessee’s football players.

- Advertisement -

Mays would almost assuredly be chosen in the 2024 NFL Draft if he didn’t return to Tennessee next season. That would create a financial hurdle for the Vols to retain Mays’ services. The rookie NFL minimum salary is $750,000. That, however, isn’t an insurmountable figure given NIL opportunities that could present themselves if Mays returns. Mays has already been successful in several NIL ventures, including a weekly podcast with Off The Hook Sports.

Mays would be a key returning player for the Vols if he did indeed return. The Vols have to replace at least three contributors on the offensive line: starting left tackle John Campbell Jr., utility tackle Jeremiah Crawford, who has started several games for Tennessee, and starting left guard Ollie Lane, who played for Mays at center when he was sidelined.

The Vols could also lose a handful of other offensive linemen, most notably starting right guard Javontez Spraggins, who was thought to be considering an early exit to the NFL before he was injured against Georgia. Spraggins said recently he had “one more left in him” during a recent appearance at the Knoxville Quarterback Club.

If Mays and Spraggins both return, as appears to be the case, then Tennessee’s offensive line could be considered a team strength as opposed to a unit that would need a massive overhaul.

There is no set timetable for Mays to announce a final decision to return for one more season. However, those decisions are typically made public in early January.

- Advertisement -

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Podcast

- Advertisement -

More Podcasts

- Advertisement -