Sources: Tennessee C Cooper Mays to play vs. South Carolina

Tennessee will get back starting center Cooper Mays for his first action of the season Saturday night against South Carolina, sources told ESPN.

Mays missed the first four games after undergoing hernia surgery in early August. There was some hope he might be able to play each of the past two weeks, but he was unable to go.

Tennessee coach Josh Heupel said Thursday that Mays practiced "really well" this week and that the Volunteers hoped to have him ready against the Gamecocks.

A 6-foot-3, 305-pound senior, Mays had started in 19 consecutive games prior to this season and was a preseason All-SEC selection. The Volunteers have missed his experience in the middle of their offensive line.

Tennessee ranks seventh nationally in rushing offense (229.5 YPG) but managed just 100 yards on the ground in its only SEC game, a 29-16 loss to Florida two weeks ago.

Leading rusher Jaylen Wright and wide receiver Ramel Keyton are also expected to play against the Gamecocks after leaving Tennessee's 45-14 win over UTSA last week with injuries.