Chris Mayes had a lot of catching up to do at Georgia.
The nose guard sat out last season while redshirting at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College to save a year of eligibility and was sidelined during preseason camp with a concussion, which kept him out the first two games of the season.
‚ÄúI came back, I think, pretty strong as a run stopper,‚Äù Mayes said.
Mayes received the Newcomer of the Year Award, along with linebacker Leonard Floyd, safety Quincy Mauger and tailbacks J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas at Georgia‚Äôs team gala last weekend.
‚ÄúI was shocked actually,‚Äù Mayes said. ‚ÄúI was sitting down talking and had no clue what was going on. They called my name and I was like, ‚ÄòWhat do they want?‚Äô I appreciate getting noticed for some of the little things I do.‚Äù
The 6-foot-4, 321-pound Mayes started seven games and finished the regular season with 28 tackles, a sack and five quarterback pressures.
‚ÄúHe gave us a presence in the run game,‚Äù defensive line coach Chris Wilson said. ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs an old saying in the run game: If you‚Äôre not strong in the middle, it‚Äôs really difficult to be a good run-stopping defense. Him with his size and what we were asking him to do, he really became an efficient guy for us, could clog the middle up for us.‚Äù