Take one look at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s linebacker Daelin Hayes, and you wouldn’t realize that he’s only on the verge of finishing his sophomore year of high school. You also wouldn’t think he missed nearly the entire fall — his first on varsity — with a separated shoulder. At 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, you’d be forgiven for thinking he’s already a college player.
Looks aren’t deceiving when it comes to Hayes’ game. Since he’d had such a limited opportunity to make an impact as a sophomore, there were naturally question marks about translating his impressive physique into production on the field. Hayes answered most of those questions Sunday at the Rivals Camp Series in Detroit.
“Hayes spent the day playing a cat-and-mouse game with opposing receivers and running backs before eventually coming away victorious on almost every rep he took,” said Rivals.com Southeast recruiting analyst Woody Wommack. “Just a rising junior, Hayes already has the physicality and football acumen of an older player. He looks like he could be shaping up as one of the state’s top targets in 2016.”
Before even seeing him play more than a few downs on the high school level, coaches from Michigan, Michigan State, Tennessee and Wisconsin were impressed enough to offer Hayes scholarships. The first phase of his journey back to the field should see more programs enter the fray shortly — or risk missing out entirely on the opportunity to sway him.
Hayes is planning to take his time with recruiting — a change, after initially planning to announce his commitment at the camp — and will see as much as possible before coming to a final college decision at the conclusion of his junior year.
“I wanted to make my decision, but everyone in my circle told me to take my time and enjoy the process,” he said. “You only go through high school one time, so why rush it?”
With a newly extended timeline, Hayes has shown the potential to blossom into one of the top recruits not only in the state, but in the entire country for the 2016 class. He has been invited to the Rivals Underclassmen Challenge in Jacksonville July 13, and will surely have a few more opportunities to prove himself before strapping up for his junior season.
Tim Sullivan is the Football Recruiting Editor of The Wolverine magazine and TheWolverine.com. He is also a contributor to national football recruiting coverage on the Rivals.com network. You can follow him on Twitter @TimS_Wolverine.