At long last, Knoxville’s top recruit Cade Mays has made his decision.
The elite offensive line prospect announced Wednesday he was signing with the Georgia Bulldogs. Mays’ decision was streamed live on WBIR’s Facebook page and broadcasted on television nationwide on ESPN.
A former Tennessee commit, Mays picked Georgia over Clemson and Ohio State.
"I was just nervous, you know," Mays said after the ceremony Wednesday. "There's no telling how many people saw that. It's just a blessing to know that I'm in this position. It just feels great."
Mays took an official visit to Athens on the weekend of December 15. He decided Tuesday morning that Georgia was the right fit for him.
"I fit that offensive scheme," Mays said. "They're a smash mouth running team and that's what I like to do. And I feel like with four years with [offensive line] Coach [Sam] Pittman, I could really do something special."
Recruitment for Mays heated up earlier this month. Representatives from UGA, Clemson and Tennessee visited him personally at Knoxville Catholic High School and at his home - including Georgia offensive line coach Sam Pittman and Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney.
"Coach Smart has definitely turned things around," Mays told 10News of Georgia in November. "The atmosphere is crazy. He's definitely bringing in one of the best recruiting classes in history that's ever been seen, this year. He's got everything going in the right direction... All the assistants are great."
Mays had previously committed to Tennessee in 2015 under then-head coach Butch Jones. He is the son of former Vol lineman Kevin Mays, who played at UT from 1991 to 1994 and was a team captain.
Cade Mays broke his commitment from the Volunteers on November 7. Citing the program’s recent poor performance and the unease of the university’s coaching search, Mays did not include Tennessee in his “Top Three” schools.
"It was so difficult," Mays said of his decision to pick UGA. "There's been good days and there's been bad days. But overall it's been a blessing, so many people have touched my life and I hope I've touched other people's lives so it's just been great for me, but I feel like I've made the right decision."
Georgia currently ranks No. 2 in 247Sports' signing class rankings, behind Ohio State. The Bulldogs' class includes five-star prospects in quarterback Justin Fields, running back Zamir White, offensive linemen in Mays and Jamaree Salyer, linebacker Adam Anderson, and defensive lineman Brenton Cox.
"We just signed the greatest class in the history of football," Mays said when asked if he had a message for Georgia fans. "We're going to do something special with it, I can promise you that."
Thanks in part to Mays’ leadership on the field, the Knoxville Catholic football team won the Class 5A state title in 2017. The Fighting Irish capped their season with a 45-28 win over Beech, clinching the third state championship in school history.
Georgia had one player from Tennessee on its active roster in 2017, junior tight end Jackson Harris of Columbia, TN.
Mays grew up in the city of Kingston, Tennessee. He is an avid hunter and fisher.
Three other Division I football commits from Catholic signed Wednesday afternoon - Cameron Blakely signed with Miami (Ohio); DaShon Bussell signed with Western Michigan; and DJ Mitchell signed with Eastern Kentucky.