Georgia offensive lineman Cade Mays seeks transfer to Tennessee

Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm (11) and offensive tackle Cade Mays (77)  prepare for the Georgia vs. LSU SEC Football Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.  Hyosub Shin / hyosub.shin@ajc.com
Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm (11) and offensive tackle Cade Mays (77) prepare for the Georgia vs. LSU SEC Football Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Hyosub Shin / hyosub.shin@ajc.com

Credit: Hyosub Shin

Credit: Hyosub Shin

The hits keep coming for Georgia’s offense.

Sophomore offensive lineman Cade Mays has entered the transfer portal, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned. That means a fourth starter on the Bulldogs’ offensive line will not be back for the Bulldogs next season.

A person with knowledge of the situation said that Mays intends to transfer to Tennessee. Mays’ younger brother Cooper is an early enrollee at Tennessee.

Atlanta lawyer Thomas Mars, who represented Justin Fields when he transferred to Ohio State and sought and gained immediate eligibility, confirmed Wednesday that he will represent Mays in his attempt to gain eligibility for the 2020 season.

“I can go on the record saying that I’m Cade’s lawyer and that, based on my investigation of the facts and circumstances, I’m confident Cade won’t have to sit out a year after he transfers,” Mars told the AJC.

ExploreMays’ parents sue the University of Georgia

Mars, a nationally acclaimed legal expert on college eligibility matters, now works for the NCAA enforcement staff.  However, that does not preclude him from handling eligibility matters.

“My contract with NCAA Enforcement prohibits me from representing anyone in an infractions matter,” said Mars, who has law offices in Arkansas and Atlanta. “I’m under no restrictions that prevent me from representing student-athletes or advising schools in matters regarding eligibility.”

There’s history between Mars and UGA. Mars represented former UGA quarterback Justin Fields in his attempt to gain immediate eligibility in a transfer to Ohio State last year. Mars and Fields prevailed, and Fields became a Heisman Trophy finalist as the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback this season.

The fact that there is a lawsuit involved gives Mars and Atlanta attorney Robin Loeb, who is representing Kevin Mays, Cade’s dad, in a personal-injury case, the legal power to request documents and phone records from UGA. Mars made it clear that they intend to do that.

Mays is a multi-game starter at multiple positions for the Bulldogs this past season. Most recently he replaced junior Andrew Thomas at left tackle for the Sugar Bowl. But he literally played every position on the line the past two seasons at Georgia, including center.  

The former 5-star recruit from Knoxville was named freshman All-American after starting seven games in 2018. He started 11 this past season and played in all 14.

In addition to Mays and Thomas, Georgia loses left guard Solomon Kindley and right tackle Isaiah Wilson, each of whom opted to enter the NFL draft with eligibility remaining. Meanwhile, the status of part-time starter Ben Cleveland remains uncertain. The junior missed the Sugar Bowl after losing his academic eligibility, according to his father, Derek.

The exits of the linemen come in the weeks following offensive line coach Sam Pittman's decision to leave UGA to become Arkansas' head coach. Georgia's new offensive line coach is former Ole Miss coach Matt Luke, who assumed the duties for the Bulldogs' bowl game.

Mays is the third scholarship player from Georgia to enter the transfer portal since the conclusion of the 2019 regular season. Also considering transfers are safety Otis Reese and outside linebacker Robert Beal. Senior walk-ons Willie Erdman and Prather Hudson have entered the portal as graduate transfers.

Meanwhile, Georgia's defense continues to hold together strong. Middle linebacker Monty Rice on Wednesday became the latest underclassman on the defense to announce that he is returning for his senior season