RECRUITING: Jerome Hayes has UF on his radar

Linebacker Jerome Hayes is a big target for the Florida Gators right now due to the fact that the linebacker depth chart is in dire need of being shored up. Hayes, ranked the No. 14 linebacker in the nation by, is a 6-2, 225-pound tackling machine who told where he currently stands.

From Bayonne, NJ, he visited his northern neighbor in Michigan State this week and had good things to say about the Spartans. "I had a nice time there and the coaches treated me with respect," Hayes said. "It seemed like they really had a plan for me and I enjoyed my visit."

His state school, Rutgers, has been very active in trying to keep him at home. He has been there plenty of times on unofficial visits and enjoys the proximity to where he lives now, he said.

"I got the opportunity to see what their home life was like at Rutgers," Hayes said. "I got a chance to see the facilities and I had a great time while I was there."

It may be winter time nation wide so it is no coincidence that he scheduled an official visit to sunny Miami, Florida this upcoming week after his northern trips.

"I'm hoping for some warm weather right now," he added, laughing. "I want to see how the classes are there as well as the facilities."

Hurricane scholarships are flying hot off the rack after a weekend in which they received three verbal commitments. Does the fact that UM had two Sunshine State linebackers (Spencer Adkins and Darryl Sharpton) commit move Miami down the list?

"I'm not scared of competition, you know," he said. "If it happens it happens and I will just go at it hard."

Out with the old coach and in with the new, the Gators are on Hayes radar and vice versa.

"I haven't gotten a chance to talk to Coach Meyer and Coach Locksley called me while I was in practice so I didn't get to talk to him either and I just heard his message," Jerome Hayes said. "Coach Meyer is coming to my house next week and I'm looking forward to see what kind of guy he is. He is obviously a great coach."

Locksley, who has officially been hired on to the current Meyer staff, seems to be a key player in the hunt for Hayes.

"Coach Locksley staying definitely helps Florida," he added.

When pressed for a leader, Hayes remained tightlipped as to who he was leaning towards, but did mention next week he would probably say who he was favoring.

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