State of the position: It is tough to know who will be the starting nose tackle for Georgia next season. John Jenkins is headed to the NFL after anchoring the spot for the majority of the last two years. Kwame Geathers also started at nose, but he might forgo his senior season and declare for the NFL draft. If he does leave early, Mike Thornton or Jonathan Taylor will be looked at to step into the position. Thornton is a bit undersized but has strong leverage. Taylor redshirted this past season because of depth but has received praise from the defensive coaches.
Pros: “[Mayes] demonstrates the ability to come off the ball low and when he does, he can hold his ground and even knock blockers back at times and play on the offense’s side of the ball. He displays good playing strength and can separate, but still needs to continue to improve hand usage. As a pass-rusher he can get into blockers, bull-rush his way back and help collapse the pocket. Mayes is a big prospect who could potentially get even bigger and is best suited as a 3-4 nose tackle at the next level. He is not a dynamic presence inside, but can be a stout, steady player who helps those around him and should be able to at least quickly add some quality depth.” -- ESPN scouting report
Cons: “He displays a solid get-off, but needs to watch his pad level as he can still pop up and play tall at times. He flashes the ability to get to the shoulder and get his hips flipped, but needs to learn to better utilize his hands. Mayes will turn and trail the play but displays just adequate long speed and adequate ability to consistently finish.” -- ESPN scouting report
Similar to/potential role: Kwame Geathers. Mayes is not quite the behemoth that Geathers is, but he will fill the role of a big inside presence that stuffs gaps and takes up blockers.
Expected impact: 2013. Mayes should have an immediate impact if Geathers decides to leave for the NFL. If Geathers decides to stay, then Mayes will serve as a backup. Mayes will enroll in January and will have the spring camp to help refine his skill set. He was new to the game in high school and raw, winning line battles on sheer brawn alone. Mayes has come a long way but the more time he spends with defensive line coach Rodney Garner, the better he will perform in August.