"I am hearing from Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Jacksonville State, Alabama and Auburn," Hayes said. "I would say my favorite schools right now are Florida, Alabama, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt and Auburn."
"I don't have an overall favorite right now, but I grew up favoring Florida. I was raised in Florida, and I have always liked their team."
The 6-4, 240-pound prospect knows his college major and is seeking the perfect fit as he continued, "I plan to major in engineering. Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt and Auburn all three have good engineering schools. That is why I like them. All three of those schools have good football programs as well."
"I like a lot of stuff about Alabama. I like the school and the campus. It's a good school, and it's close to home."
His junior year was impressive as he recorded 100 tackles, 16 for loss and seven sacks. The honors came his way when the season ended.
"I was All-County, All-Area and All-State," Hayes said. "I was a Player of the Year finalist, and I was the County Defensive Player of the Year. I played in the Alabama Junior All-Star game as well."
Hayes participated in the U.S. Army All-American combine in San Antonio in January, and he learned what he needs to improve before his senior season.
"I need to work hard on my speed and strength," he said. "I feel like I have good footwork, and I am strong coming off the ball. I am very mobile."
Education is in the forefront of his decision process with a score of 23 on the ACT and a 3.4 GPA.
"I will basically make my decision based on the education I will receive for my major," Hayes said. "I want to find a place where I will be happy."
Hayes will attend Junior Day at Alabama (3-4), Auburn (3-11) and Georgia Tech (4-8).
He will make a return trip to Tuscaloosa for the Scout.com All-American Combine April 29.