Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C. has already proven its ability to develop defensive line talent for Georgia in the nose guard John Jenkins. As early as January of 2013, the Mississippi JUCO system will be ready to send along a second Bulldog signee to bolster the defensive 3-man front.
Chris Mayes, who was a Rivals.com four-star recruit, recorded 34 tackles, nine which were for a loss, and two sacks in his senior season. The 6-foot-5, 295-pound Griffin native said he has recently made big strides in his game after a slow start playing at the next level.
"I'm playing my position better, hold up the gaps, take on double teams, I'm really adapting to the faster pace. My defensive line coach here is helping me with technique and he tells me I need to get off the ball faster and I need to play faster with more urgency and I really think I've been doing that lately," Mayes said. "He's said I've been doing it, and these past few game and stuff, I've been improving. I'm doing way better getting off the double teams now.
Mayes said that recently, in one game, he recorded six tackles, couple of which were for a loss, and that he's been able to both force turnovers all year, even recovering a fumble early in his JUCO career.
The transition both on and off the field has been a challenge, according to Mayes, but something he's quickly learning to manage with the help of coaches and teammates.
"It's tough being away from home but the coaches and the players took me in and I feel better about it. The heat out here, that got to me first, it was the heat, and the distance from home and I didn't pick up the game at first," Mayes said. "But then I picked it up real quickly, and I'm just trying to get better and better every day."
While being away from home can be difficult still at times, Mayes said his only focus is taking care of everything so he can graduate in December of next year so he can be out competing for the Dawgs in the spring.
Mayes said the Georgia coaches haven't talked to him recently, but that his mother said they have been sending mail to his home in Georgia. With plenty of connections already in Athens, Mayes said he keeps up with the Dawgs as best he can through his fellow class commits, childhood friends, and coach (Rodney) Garner.
"Coach Garner and me, we have a cool relationship. He's always making sure my head is in the right place and that I do the right things," Mayes said. "I'm close with a lot of guys on the team. I'm close with Corey Moore of course, because we are from the same city and we play basketball together, and we went to the same high school for a while. I talk to Christian LeMay a lot and Chris Conley. Those guys and Xavier Ward, I was pretty close with him, just a lot of the kids from my class."
Mayes said his commitment to Georgia now is just as solid as it has ever been, and all of the same reasons for picking the program still ring true to him this day.
"I am real strong on my commitment. It's close to home, it's a family environment. I just like all the people there and all the coaches, how they coach well and they talk to their players and how they want everyone to work together as one," Mayes said.
MGCCC is on a sevengame win streak after losing only its season opener, and only has one game remaining, versus Hinds Community College, before Mayes is set to begin playoffs.
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