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Cade Mays ruled out for Music City Bowl

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel Caitie McMekin/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Ahead of the Music City Bowl, we got a rare, concrete injury update from Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel. Unfortunately, it wasn’t good news. Heupel ruled senior right tackle Cade Mays out for Thursday’s game against Purdue.

Heupel said earlier in the week that Mays was pushing to play, but clearly that foot isn’t ready to go.

Mays has been dealing with the injury that ended up costing him his final two regular season games. Injuries are nothing new for Tennessee, particularly up front. The Vols operated for most of the season with a mixed and matched line, dealing with injuries to both Cooper and Cade Mays.

Focus will now turn to Cade’s NFL decision. He has a super senior year available, something that he’s said he would entertain if the right NIL deal came along. Mays is a projected mid-round pick, should he declare.

Dayne Davis has filled in for Mays at right tackle this season when called upon, and Jeremiah Crawford has also gotten some work at the position. You can expect both to play on Thursday against the Boilermakers.

Tennessee will also be without top cornerback Alontae Taylor, who opted out to focus on NFL Draft preparations.

On the Purdue side, the Boilermakers will be without five starters after multiple opt-outs and rumored academic issues.

Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. ET on Thursday. ESPN will have the coverage.