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Tennessee C Cooper Mays on transfer WR Chris Brazzell II: Could be “a quarterback’s best friend” 

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Many Tennessee football players are recruited out of high school. A few are walk-ons. Some come up via the transfer portal. No matter the path, once they arrive, they are Volunteers. 

But, of course, a transfer’s experience is likely going to be different than the recruit. The transfer should be more mature than a high school signee.

Center Cooper Mays seemed destined to be a Vol. He grew up in Knoxville and both dad, Kevin, and brother, Cade, played for Tennessee. Having spent his entire life around the university, committing to Tennessee post-high school was a no-brainer for Mays. When Mays first walked on campus in 2020, there was a different head coach at the helm of the football program. That changed in 2021, with the hiring of Josh Heupel.  

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A head coach can obviously be a huge recruiting tool for a team. Just look at how many Alabama football players jumped into the portal when Nick Saban announced his retirement. And most recently, there was a mass exodus of Texas A&M baseball players as their head coach departed for another team. For Cooper Mays, however, leaving Tennessee was never an option.  

“(A coaching change is) always a concern, but you can’t really do anything about it,” Mays said on this week’s Vol Report. “I knew I wasn’t going to leave. I’d kind of gotten to a point where I was comfortable here… I mean, there was definitely anxiety. You don’t want somebody to come in here that you just hated, but you knew that they’re going to make a pretty good choice. I mean, we’re not a school that takes stuff like that very lightly. So, it was good. It ended up being good for us. 

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“When you’re getting recruited, a lot of people think about the head coach… I mean, you really mostly are going to be with your O-line coach,” Mays continued. “And then more than that, you’re going to be with your strength and conditioning coach every day. So that’s kind of who I looked at a lot and it’s huge.” 

Wide receiver Chris Brazzell II is a recent addition to the squad this season, having transferred in from Tulane. Many players have found their way to Knoxville via the portal, so it’s nothing new for Mays. His older brother, Cade, was a transfer from Georgia after all. If you ask Mays, it takes some special qualities for a transfer to be successful.  

“I think it takes a mature kid to come in anywhere and make an immediate impact,” Mays observed. “You got to be really mature, pretty decently smart, able to get the playbook down and kind of master it in under a year. So that’s kind of one side of it. 

“And then second of all you got to be really good,” Mays continued. “If you’re transferring to a place in the SEC, no matter where you’re going, you got to be a really good player… So I think it’s big props to whoever can come and do that.” 

Can Brazzell be that transfer who makes an “immediate impact” for the Vols? Mays has confidence he can. 

“Obviously I don’t know much about wide receivers or how any of that goes about, but I know he’s crazy athletic and a huge, huge target for a quarterback,” May said. “So, I’d say he’d be a quarterback’s best friend.” 

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