RECRUITING: New Jersey LB weights in on Gators

Ranked the No. 13 LB prospect in the nation, Jerome Hayes has been a force to be reckoned with on the field as his high school career has progressed. With Hayes playing on both sides of the ball, his Bayonne high school team has been on a roll behind the senior dual threat's leadership. ALSO: Highlight videos.

"We are 5-3 and just got a big victory over our rival that has put us into the playoffs," he said. "I have over 1,100 yards rushing with 13 touchdowns on offense with 92 tackles on defense."

The recruiting wars for Hayes' services are far from over with the likes of Florida, Miami, Rutgers and Michigan State all in the mix. With the recent news of the firing of Coach Ron Zook from the Gators, Hayes said the orange and blue remain in the race.

"I am definitely still looking at Florida," he said. "The coaching staff has nothing to do with the atmosphere I saw when I was there. The coaching staff is a great group of guys and I got to meet a lot of nice people."

While reports from Gainesville do have Zook and staff being cut, whomever the next coach decides to keep from the staff will be important for him, he said.

"Whoever stays will play a big factor to if I could remain Florida bound," Hayes said. "Coaches Bill Miller (LB) and Mike Locksley (RB) are two guys I really like and would like to continue to get to know."

Speculation has been the word in Gainesville, with the likes of Steve Spurrier and current Oklahoma defensive coordinator Bo Pelini teaming up in 2005 as one possibility for the current Gator slot. Hayes said it's all about comfort and timing for him at this point right now.

"That combination would definitely be something to look at," Hayes said. "But then again its all a matter of when is it going to happen and how much time does that leave for me as a recruit to get to know him. I want to be comfortable wherever I go and I was comfortable at Florida, but with all their changes it's going to take some time for me to look at them."

Plenty of other schools remain in the hunt for Hayes, and he said as of right now, the Hurricanes were showing him the most love.

"Miami calls me every week," he added. "I'd like to go down there in December at some point and maybe even for the Miami-Virginia Tech game. They have a great coaching staff with some guys that I've known for along time."

While some recruits are letting it know to where they are heading, Jerome Hayes is in no rush to commit to anyone just yet.

"I'm just going to take my visits right now," Hayes said. "I'm not trying to get too much into this recruiting thing right now since we just made the playoffs. Once I get things finished up with my high school, then I will start getting into it more."

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