The 6-4, 255-pound offensive lineman from Dalton High School notes that it was one of the hardest things he has ever done. "It was tough," he tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "It was very, very tough. I even cried. It was the toughest thing I have ever done in my life."
Auburn's loss is Tennessee's gain. The Dalton High standout committed to the Tennessee Volunteers and made the announcement official at a football banquet on Monday in Dalton.
"I feel really close to Tennessee," says Mayo, whose father Bill was an offensive lineman for the Volunteers a generation earlier. "I just decided that is the place I wanted to be."
Mayo says he truly regrets that he committed to Auburn and then had a change of plans. He says that is not the way he wished things had developed.
"Auburn is a great place with a great football program," Mayo says. "The coaching staff did a wonderful job recruiting me. They are tremendous people. Coach Lolley (Phillip Lolley), who recruited me, couldn't have done a better job. He was awesome. He came to watch me play basketball. He called me on every night when he could call me. I really like him a great deal.
"The decision not to come to Auburn didn't have anything to do with the coaching staff at Auburn not doing a great job recruiting me," Mayo adds. "I had committed to them and had made up my mind that is where I was going. I was done with recruiting. Then the stuff came up with Auburn officials talking to the coach at Louisville (Coach Bobby Petrino) and that changed things."
Former Auburn president William Walker, athletic director David Housel and board of trustees members Earlon McWhorter and Byron Franklin flew to Indiana for a secret meeting with Petrino to discuss the Auburn football coaching job with Petrino two nights before Auburn's regular season ending victory over Alabama. Tuberville survived and Walker apologized for the trip. He later resigned under pressure in January.
Mayo says his concern that Walker was going fire Tuberville and his assistant coaches he committed to play for unsettled him. The lineman notes that even though Walker resigned, partly due to his role in the incident, that he never looked at Auburn the same way after that.
Prior to visiting Auburn on Jan. 16th, Mayo took his first official visit to Ole Miss. He says he liked the trip, but he came out of his Auburn visit a week later with the Tigers back on top, but after spending the weekend in Knoxville he decided to follow in his father's footsteps at Neyland Stadium.