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Tennessee C Cooper Mays on returning WR Bru McCoy, “Wherever they are, special people are going to shine.” 

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Tennessee WR Bru McCoy started five games for the Volunteers in 2023 before he suffered a season-ending ankle injury in late September. McCoy announced in January 2024 that he would return to Tennessee for his last year of eligibility. Though he is still rehabbing his ankle, significant progress is being made – to the delight of fans and his teammate and friend, C Cooper Mays.  

Mays is also coming back to Tennessee for his last season; both he and McCoy are veterans on the team which comes with certain leadership expectations. While Mays has played his entire collegiate career with Tennessee, McCoy spent 2019-2021 at USC before transferring.  

“A big part of me being a leader on this team is the fact that I’ve been around here so long,” said Mays on this week’s Vol Report. “People take what I say as being right, because I’m so much older than some of them and have been around the block a lot. So, for (McCoy) to come in here and only have a short tenure but grab that many people’s respect and attention… it’s really special.” 

According to Mays, it typically takes some time for him to open up to new people. But he knew early on that McCoy was going to have a big impact on the team. “I’m sure there was a lot of stuff that (McCoy) was adjusting to,” Mays recalled on first meeting McCoy. “And me, I’m not the type of guy that just walks up and talks to random people. So, it took a little bit for me and him to kind of connect. But (we) are really close nowadays.” 

The teammates’ connection increased as they spent a lot of time in the facility. Being upperclassmen came with the presumption that they would set the example for the younger players. Mays knew how important that was. “It’s crucial that the older guys bond together right now because we got a lot of old guys and a lot of young guys on the team.” 

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At an autograph signing last weekend in Knoxville, McCoy indicated that he has started running again. Mays, who himself missed games last year due to injury, was excited to hear that news.  

“(It’s) super encouraging,” Mays said of McCoy’s progress. “You never want to see anybody get hurt the way he did and to see how far he’s come in such a short amount of time is really cool.” 

McCoy’s maturity and commitment is not lost on Mays. “(McCoy) is a guy that attacks every day the right way,” Mays observed. “He just does a lot of stuff the right way… he lives his life the right way. So, it all lines up for him.” 

“It speaks to the kind of guy he is,” Mays continued. “You know how it is… wherever they are, special people are going to shine.” 

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