Before we begin, let me make this known: this all hinges on whether or not Cade Mays can play in 2020.
Ok, let’s proceed.
Holy s$%!. I mean, who would’ve expected this?
Just two years ago, the only offensive lineman to exist on Tennessee’s roster was Trey Smith. Butch Jones didn’t leave much behind in his gracious exit from the program and it showed.
But within the span of two recruiting cycles and the past 24 hours, that notion has changed in the most dramatic of ways on Rocky Top. All of a sudden, the Vols have four five-star recruits and one four-star recruit as their starting five on the offensive line. A unit that was once depleted with talent is now stocked and ready to go.
The addition of Cade Mays - and his versatility - is what puts this group over the top, though. Tennessee’s offensive front was already solid enough with Wanya Morris, Darnell Wright, Trey Smith (who just recently announced he will return for the 2020 season), and Brandon Kennedy. Mays gives the group a starting-caliber offensive lineman who is also extremely versatile. If one the aforementioned four guys goes down, Mays will be able to provide flexibility and allows the coaches to make any necessary adjustments to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Mays started six games at right guard, two at right tackle, two at right guard, and he started at left tackle during the Sugar Bowl. He played in all 14 games in 2019, as well.
The Vols also have some very solid depth behind the starting five, as well. Riley Locklear, Jerome Calvin, and K’Rojhn Calbert all showed flashes of potential at times in 2019. They also started a few games in between them, which can only lead to improvement as they develop behind the starters.
In all, this appears to be Tennessee’s best offensive line - on paper - in quite some time. In fact, I think it’s fair to say this is the best group since the turn of the new millenium (2000), century, or whatever hyperbolic word you want to use to pump yourself up.
But what would make all of this even better is if this group lives up to or surpasses, even, expectations and becomes the best offensive line in Tennessee history. Both on paper and on the field.
I could ride with that, couldn’t you?