Staff Report Graphic

Tennessee offensive lineman Cade Mays has been ruled eligible to play this season by the NCAA, Jeremy Pruitt told the media Thursday.

Mays, who announced his plan to transfer to Tennessee in February, was denied immediate eligibility last month before filing an appeal with the help of Knoxville lawyer Greg Isaacs. Isaacs announced that the appeal had been filed last week. 

“Today we heard back from the NCAA,” Pruitt said. “They approved Cade’s appeal. This has always been a two-step process. The next thing is the SEC. It is good that our governing body decided to allow him to play.”

While Mays is in good standing with the NCAA he will still have to wait on word from the SEC before suiting up in next Saturday’s opener at South Carolina. 

The clearance from the SEC was a hurdle known to Tennessee but not to others as Mays is looking to be the first intra conference, non-grad, transfer to be ruled immediately eligible.

Pruitt, and Vols players alike, had voiced frustrations with Mays ineligibility due to the peculiar circumstances around the transfer.

Mays’, who started 18 games in his first two seasons at Georgia, parents are currently involved in a lawsuit with the University of Georgia over an incident during a recruiting visit that ended with Cade’s father, Kevin, losing a finger.

The lawsuit, mixed with a COVID season that doesn’t count against eligibility, led to Tennessee’s frustration with the NCAA.

If Mays is granted eligibility from the SEC, he will likely become Tennessee’s starting right guard. The Knoxville native’s versatility could play a big role in a season with such instability. Mays spent time across the offensive line in his time at Georgia.

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