Previously: Last year's profiles. S Sammy Faustin, S German Green, CB Gemon Green, CB Vincent Gray, CB Myles "Spider" Sims, LB Cameron McGrone, DE Taylor Upshaw, DE Julius Welschof, DE Aidan Hutchinson, OL Jalen Mayfield.
|Traverse City, MI — 6'7", 262|
|24/7||4*, #140 overall
#12 OT, #3 MI
|Rivals||3*, 5.6 rating
#48 OT, #17 MI
|ESPN||4*, NR overall
#29 OT, #7 MI
|Composite||4*, #335 overall
#23 OT, #5 MI
|Other Suitors||ND, MSU|
|YMRMFSPA||OK, JAKE FISHER GEEZ|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace. Future Blue Originals and Derivatives from Adam.|
|Notes||Twitter. Brother played at Pitt. TC West (yup, Jake Fisher).|
I was tempted to copy and paste this post from Jalen Mayfield's and see if anyone noticed a difference. The two prospects are near identical, as was the recruiting world's reaction to them. 24/7 is enthusiastic about both. In Mayfield's case ESPN ranked him as a MAC prospect and Rivals was eventually persuaded; in Hayes's ESPN fired off a generic four star ranking with no explanation and Rivals continues to rank him deep in the weeds.
The reasons here are the same. 24/7 sees a high-upside frame on a three-sport athlete and trusts that meat can be slapped on that frame; Rivals sees the current player; ESPN can't be bothered. But let's double check to make sure! Yep:
Very good athlete, a three-sport athlete who is coordinated, has good balance and flexibility. Used as a blocker as a tight end, so he has experience in the run game and does well in that aspect. Must learn to play tackle and continue to add weight and strength to play left tackle in the future, but has a very high ceiling as a tackle.
Traverse City West runs a wing-T so Hayes does a lot of run blocking.
TCW is also the alma mater of the other guy Hayes is constantly compared to: erstwhile Michigan commitment and current Bengal Jake Fisher. In addition to this post's YMRMFSPA, here's his coach:
TC West coach Tim Wooer was impressed with Hayes, saying: “He was an incredible player for us. Defensively, most teams ran away from him. He was long and athletic and used his arms really well for separation. In my 27 years of coaching, he was the best player in terms of creating matchup issues for defensive backs and linebackers.”
Wooer said Hayes is a carbon copy of former TC West lineman Jake Fisher, which should make Michigan fans excited for the future.
[After the JUMP: will more people compare Ryan Hayes to Jake Fisher? You never know! Maybe they'll compare him to Shakira! It could happen!]
And Sam Webb:
...we remember Jake Fisher – a guy with a similar body type: That’s who, when you look at Ryan Hayes, that’s kind of who I’m reminded of.
And Allen Trieu:
Maybe you see him as a short yardage, red-zone kind of guy early on. But I think the weight is going to be too much to keep off this kid. He’s played two other sports, so he’s never really been fully committed into the weight room. Once he gets there I think he’s going to blow up and could be a Jake Fisher kind of guy.”
Michigan lost Fisher in the Brady Hoke transition, much to the chagrin of a swept-out Greg Frey:
Frey had seen this movie before. Hayes was a 6-foot-7 high school tight end who had high-major offensive tackle written all over him. During his first stint at Michigan, Frey had gone up to West to recruit Jake Fisher, also a tight end for the Titans, with the frame and tools to develop into a high caliber offensive lineman. Fisher came to Michigan’s summer camp, had a dominant performance and committed to the Wolverines later that fall. At the end of the cycle, when Rich Rodriguez was let go, Fisher switched his commitment to Oregon, became an All-Pac 12 performer and now starts for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Frey's single season second-go-round presented him with a Fisher clone at the same dang high school who he successfully recruited before being swept out to sea again. I can't wait for 2036, when Frey's sixth tenure at Michigan is two weeks long and still results in a skinny OL commitment who develops into a second-round pick.
Fisher's stature and near-total lack of pass blocking reps does mean he's a project, as so many Frey OL are. What can be assessed right now is good. Hayes has the proverbial "bend." Touch The Banner:
...bends very well, and one of his strengths should be down blocking and maintaining leverage in the run game. He moves his feet well after contact, and he has the athleticism to release to the second level. He also does a good job of using his hands and finishing blocks. ...somewhat of a lumbering tight end ... solid athleticism for an offensive tackle, but those athletic traits need to be harnessed.
...taller, leaner kid, but can really bend. He has to to be effective right now because he is taller than everyone he goes up against. The fact that he still gets pad level on these guys is a good sign. He is a super nice kid off the field to the point that some schools wondered how mean he is on it. His tape from this year shows plenty of tenacity and blocking to the whistle.
Alpena coach Aaron Sims told Brandon Brown that Hayes was more or less Shakira?
He’s a big guy – 6-7, 250 pounds – but what stood out to me was how good his hips and feet were, and how he kept a low profile. ... He’s just a big, strong athletic guy ... Especially with those feet and those hips. ... it’s tough to find 6-7, 250, and even harder to find it with his feet and his hips. He definitely caused a matchup problem for us on both sides of the ball.
I didn't make it weird! He made it weird! Look. Okay. I made it a little weird. He helped. Como se llama?
Anyway. After scouting him in person, Adam came away with the impression that Hayes was a burgeoning right tackle because of his "ferocity" on the ground:
He has much more short-area athleticism than most players his size ... looks like an athletic right tackle playing tight end, and that’s not bad ... Run blocking is far and away Hayes’ biggest strength. He shows advanced technique in the run game, utilizing his hands well, getting his pads low, and consistently keeping his feet moving. I scouted one of his junior-year games on film and he displayed noticeably better hand placement in this game. Hayes is also flat-out strong for his age and, most importantly, uses his technique and strength to stay on blocks until the play is finished; at the very least he plays through the whistle, and he often buries guys.
A 6'7" guy with a lot of positive takes about bend and pad level is a swing worth taking even if he hasn't pass blocked approximately ever.
The negative take is from Rivals, which asked their regional guy about Michigan's dual Frey OL commits shortly after they both dropped. It's fairly standard:
"It’s tough with Hayes because I haven’t seen him in person and I haven’t had that chance to just size him up. On film he looks like a bigger framed guy but it’s really tough to get an accurate read on how he’ll grow in the future. ... He hasn’t focused specifically on offensive line play and he’s a little behind the curve from a fundamental standpoint, but nothing that says he can’t get there with coaching. He has that above average athleticism for offensive tackle."
If the regional guy ever got out to see Hayes there's no evidence of it on Rivals; the same class wrap-up piece referenced in the Mayfield piece offers no update to the above. Brown did, but he doesn't do rankings.
That's the usual for the Midwest region on Rivals. Hayes's weight is probably why Rivals didn't come around on him like they did Mayfield. (That and his absence from the Army game.) His reported weight on recruiting sites more or less did not budge from he 252 was listed at over a year and a half ago, and he only got to 262 even on his MGoBlue bio—and that is presumably the number most current and prone to generous fictions. This shouldn't be a long-term concern. Like Mayfield, Hayes is a relatively slender high school lineman because he's doing a bunch of other stuff. Unlike Mayfield, he didn't shift to a full-time football approach until his arrival on campus; instead he played basketball and then baseball as a senior.
There are few flexible bodies with Hayes's size, which gives him great upside. That's the 24/7 ranking. He's not there yet, and that's the Rivals ranking. Maybe a tiebreaker: Frey's excellent track record with Hayes-ish recruits has been noted. Hayes also has an early vote of confidence from mercifully now-former Notre Dame OL coach Harry Hiestand, who groomed some maulers in South Bend over the past few years before departing for the Bears. Until a trip to Ann Arbor turned Hayes's recruitment on his head he was widely expected to go to ND, and ND was more than happy to grab him.
FWIW, a number of articles mention that Hayes might continue as a tight end...
Hayes enjoys playing tight end, a position he was recruited to play at Michigan.
“I like to play tight end the most,” Hayes said. “Michigan use them a lot. They love their tight ends there and it just seemed like a good fit.”
...and Michigan only increased that chatter by listing him as a tight end on Signing Day. Do not be deceived! One glance at the roster should be enough to dispel that idea, except insofar as Hayes gets Bonus OL snaps early in his career.
Etc.: Actually have a Scout ranking here: he was #269 last August. Has a SPACE EXPERIMENT. Local profile compares him to... yep.
Why Jake Fisher? Same prospect, same high school. Other comparables include Every Other Greg Frey Temporary Mini-Me OT. Mike Schofield? Sure. Taylor Lewan? Sure. Jason Spriggs? Sure.
Guru Reliability: Low. TCW is not heavily scouted, played TE, lot of projection, lot of spread. No camps.
Variance: Moderate. More weight to add than Mayfield but a reasonable story—kept playing other sports longer—as to why he's got farther to go. 3.9 student, Frey-selected skinny lad, no question about his left tackle frame. Pass blocking a total mystery though.
Ceiling: Very high. 6'7" kid with the ability to hit 300 pounds and the agility to make tight end a vague possibility.
General Excitement Level: High. Greg Frey might have combined with Tim Drevno to make for a terrible year of pass protection but at least he left a couple gifts under the tree.
Projection: Is 260-pound OL, redshirt. Could see scattered TE snaps now that you get four free games. Year two is probably optimistic as well. At 6'7" he's going to get run over in pass pro even if he adds 25 pounds. Could be a Kaiju package TE as a redshirt freshman.
Year three should see a fully weaponized tackle version of Hayes. He's the most left tackle of all the competitors and will have a good shot at a job, but Mayfield, Stueber, Honigford, and Hudson will all be third or fourth year players in 2020 so someone's going to end up watching.