RECRUITING: Hayes amazed at The Swamp

Jerome Hayes is one of those guys. One of those standout two-way football athletes that teams all around the East coast are vying for his services. Projected as the No.13 LB by the network, his offers range from the likes of the Florida Gators, Tennessee Volunteers and Virginia Tech Hokies.

Hayes' Bayonne High School team has been led by his stellar performance on both sides of the ball. Offensively, at RB/FB he has been no slouch.

"We've lost two games by three points, but we are 3-2 right now and are headed on the right track," Hayes said. "On offense I have 9 touchdowns and 516 yards rushing so far on the year."

However, Hayes is the object of many teams affection on defense. The 6 foot 2 inch 225 lb linebacker plays in a free system that has allowed him so far this year to take advantage of opposing team's offenses with 67 tackles on the year, an average 13 per game. When asked about what he looked to improve upon the most during his off season he was quick to answer.

"It was more mental you know what I'm saying," Hayes said. "I wanted to be able to read the offenses better and reading formations better, because I've always been where I need to be on the physical side."

On the recruiting front, Hayes took a visit to Gainesville's Florida Field and what he saw was arguably the most amazing thing he could have seen, he said.

"The Swamp was crazy and it wasn't like anything I have ever seen in my life," Hayes said. "I've been to several college games in my life and The Swamp definitely ranks number one."

Being a high school senior, Hayes has heard some noise in his day, but he placed The Swamp on an entirely other level.

"I could barely hear myself think," he said.

During the actual game, Hayes found himself sitting to another defensive duo that was all too familiar with the Gainesville aura.

"I got a chance to sit next to Gerald Williams and Vladimir Richard at the game, and they told me they were committed to Florida," Hayes added. "They were some cool guys. While I was there I was hosted by Channing Crowder and it was a real nice time."

Hayes was lucky enough to meet with both Coach Ron Zook and linebacker coach Bill Miller and he came away impressed with their level headedness, he said.

"Coach Zook is a down to earth guy who talks the truth and is straight out with it," Hayes said. "He seems like he knows what he was talking about and is a very convincing talker."

"I was actually with Coach Miller on my last day in Gainesville and he's a great guy," he said. "I got to work out for him at Florida's Rising Senior Camp and he's a good guy."

The New Jersey product is being highly pursued by many in the Northeast as mentioned earlier, but playing away from home isn't a big deal for him as he is just looking for the best opportunity for his career.

"It's not an issue for me," he added. "If it happens it happens."

The person who supports him most, his mother, was really impressed with the way the Gators handled themselves. She really liked how UF presented themselves and how they talked to her, he said.

Despite the great visit down south, Hayes declared everyone was still even citing the fact he still wants to take advantage of all his visits.

"Everyone is even, but I rank Florida at the top right now because of the atmosphere and their situation next year," he said. "The Gators losing had no impact on my thoughts about Florida and one thing I can say is I believe in my head that Florida will win more then they as time goes on. I will, without a doubt, keep my eye on them as the season goes on."

With Michigan State up next on December 10th as an official visit, Jerome Hayes will have plenty of time to rest on his visit to The Swamp, and maybe a little time for his ears to recover from one of the rowdiest crowds he had ever seen.

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