It's no secret that the nose tackle position is of critical importance in Todd Grantham's 2 gap, 3-4 defense. The nose is responsible for holding the point of attack, getting pressure in the quarterback's face, and drawing double teams to allow the linebackers to roam free and make tackles. It's a job description that not everyone fills.
One guy recruited by the Bulldogs who seems to fit the bill is former Spalding County and current Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College defender Chris Mayes. We looked at what Mayes brought to the table a little over two years ago. At the time he was a very raw defensive tackle/end who'd only played a year of organized football and also needed to get his academic house in order. Fast forward to 2012, where Mayes is now in his second season at MGCCC.
A football-minded Youtube account holder posted some video several months ago of Mayes during his freshman season in Mississippi, which you can see here. (H/T beast93ish, who for all I know may actually be Chris Mayes, given that he or she also has a playlist titled "Mayes" and Mayes wears number 93).
It's clear from the video that Mayes has been growing. Various recruiting outlets have listed his current weight at anywhere from 315 to 330 pounds, which seems believable based on how huge he looks in this video compared to the competition. Mississippi junior colleges play a much higher level of football than JUCOs in some other parts of the country. Some might say that's some sort of commentary on the state of public schools in the Magnolia State. Be that as it may, it means that Mayes is competing against a lot of guys who'll likely be playing Division I football.
The big guy still has some stance issues in this video, which with linemen sometimes means (depending on the point in the game during which the video was shot) that he's winded. I do notice that his pad level isn't bad for a guy in the 6'5 range, and his feet are quick for his size, allowing him to draw those double teams so prized in the Grantham 3-4, and is playing with his eyes in the backfield. All of these are positive signs, and indicate to me that he's getting good coaching and taking it. One area I'd really like to see him improve upon is his hand placement, specifically using them to shed blockers.
There's nothing here to indicate that Mayes is the best defensive tackle in the country. And it's a small sample size which may well include every tackle Mayes made in 2011. But Mayes will have 3 years to play 2 when he gets to Athens, and this video does seem to confirm that he's progressing both in terms of physical development and technique. That's good news for a Georgia defensive line that could be without both Kwame Geathers and John Jenkins in 2013 and might have to rely on Mayes and current freshman Jonathan Taylor (who has yet to play in 2012) to anchor the nose along with Hargrave Military Academy's John Atkins. If nothing else, we can say that Mayes has the physical tools. Which, when talking about 3-4 nose tackles, puts him in a very small group.
Until later . . .