By Mark Snyder, Detroit Free Press | May 30, 2017 8:09 am ET
Michigan assistant football coach Greg Frey had a head start recruiting four-star Traverse City (Mich.) West offensive lineman Ryan Hayes.
At least five years.
When coaching at Indiana, and even in his first stint at Michigan, Frey recruited Hayes’ older brother Connor Hayes and had a relationship with the family.
Connor, in the class of 2014, chose Pittsburgh, but the connection remained with Frey.
So it was no surprise when Hayes called his high school coach, Tim Wooer, on Saturday and said he was committing to Michigan for the 2018 class.
Hayes, at 6-foot-6 and 252 pounds, is the third-ranked prospect in Michigan in the 247Sports Composite rankings. He chose the Wolverines over Michigan State and Notre Dame.
“You look at Michigan academically and the program that they’re building under coach (Jim) Harbaugh, it’s pretty tough to argue the product that they have on the field but what they’ll have in the future,” Wooer said.
Hayes’ position on the line remains undefined because he is athletic enough to run well for a big man. He’s the third offensive lineman and second tackle to join U-M’s 2018 class.
“It’s a great fit for Ryan and for Michigan,” Wooer said Hayes, who stands out in basketball and baseball as well, currently as a star pitcher. “He’s a kid that could possibly play tight end but if he gets bigger, he’ll just play tackle. He provides some flexibility for Michigan and Michigan provides that opportunity for Ryan as well.”
Wooer has a benchmark for Hayes in former West lineman Jake Fisher, who committed to Michigan, then signed with Oregon and has played for the Cincinnati Bengals the past two seasons.
“Ryan’s about a carbon copy of Jake Fisher,” Wooer said. “Ryan might be a little bit more athletic but Jake might have been a little bit further along in terms of strength at this point. Ryan’s junior film was better than Jake’s junior film. But Jake had a phenomenal senior year. They’re very, very similar in their size, their frame, their makeup.”
At West’s end-of-the-year testing, Hayes ran a 5.02 40-yard dash. Wooer teased him that Fisher ran 4.99, so Hayes did it again and ran a 4.97.
“He’s a good worker, extremely high character, good student and he’s extremely humble,” Wooer said, noting Hayes did not want to have a news conference to announce his choice. “When you have a kid like that and they make a decision like this, you are just extremely happy for the kid and the university.”