DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH: THOMAS MAYO, WR, CALIFORNIA (PA)
“No days off.”
A tattoo on Thomas Mayo body serves as a reminder and motto for him to live by.
“In high school, I had coaches tell me and my mom that I’m only a Division III player, which hurt. But at the same time, it motivated me.”
Now, Mayo has become one of the most productive receivers in Division II history, boasting stats and consistent dominance over his level. From high school mediocrity to a lack of attention initially to now securely on NFL radars, Mayo owes a lot to his coaches, his athleticism, and his motivation to not lower himself to others’ expectations.
“In high school, my first love was basketball. As a junior, I was getting a few looks from Division I colleges, but after I got injured, that was all but finished. So, I went to focus on football.”
Mayo didn’t have the wowing stats in high school to lure Division I football programs, and playing next to future Penn State wide receiver recruit AJ Price overshadowed him. So, while his teammate went to get his shot at the big levels, Mayo chose small Division II Concord University to play football at.
After putting together a 41 catch freshman year, Mayo went on to have back to back 70+ reception, 1300+ yard, and 10+ TD seasons at Concord. By the end of his junior season, he couldn’t help but gain more attention. But playing the Division II level in the WVIAC, where not a single player as been drafted from the past five years, wasn’t going to get the type of attention need to get to he next level.
But, a new opportunity arose. Mayo’s head coach at Concord, Mike Kellar, agreed to become the offensive coordinator of the California PA Vulcans in the PSAC conference. Mayo had the opportunity to join the team without losing eligibility, enrolling early in the summer.
“[Thomas] came in the summer and got to know a lot of the guys.” Coach Kellar said. “He and the quarterbacks developed a rapport pretty quickly.”
Mayo said similar things of his transition to the new school. “It was hard to fit in right way, but I worked with the quarterbacks a lot in the summer, started running routes outside or practice. I started feeling totally comfortable maybe around the 2nd or 3rd game. The first game was hard, being around better players [than at Concord] and not being the focus as much early.”
Still, Mayo’s production didn’t and still hasn’t slipped at all in his new college home. Already at 59 catches and over 1000 yards through nine games, Mayo reached the 4,000 career receiving yard mark last week, something only 15 other Division II receivers have ever done.
“It’s a work ethic type of achievement for me [to reach 4,000 yards]. I just never take a day off, and it’s just something that kind of happened”
No days off has seemed to pay-off so far. Some close followers of the Division II level knew who Thomas Mayo was and what his talent level was, but NFL scouts have started taking notice since summer workouts.
“At Concord, it would have been crazy to see NFL teams, you’d never see it. Now, here at California, it’s like regular, since he off season. I think Rishaw (Johnson) brought a lot of the attention too.”
Rishaw Johnson, Ole Miss transfer, has big time NFL guard size, great talent, and maybe is a firm draft selection. Still, Mayo now is starting to get some attention as well.