RECRUITING: Jovon Hayes Has Florida In Top Four

After three years of waiting, Jovon Hayes is finally feeling a little bit grown up. That might seem hard to imagine since Hayes is rather grown up looking at 6-2.5, 320 pounds. The big offensive lineman from Los Angeles (CA) Dorsey has waited patiently since the ninth grade for his chance to be recruited as a football player and now that he's getting the calls and the attention, not only does he enjoy the attention, he feels older.

"I have been waiting since the ninth grade," he said, happy that finally it is his turn to be recruited. "All my buddies were getting calls and I was too young to get them."

The recruiting process can be a funny thing sometimes as college coaches will go to any lengths to get the attention of star recruits. Cal used a rather unique approach to get Hayes thinking about Berkeley.

"Cal sent me a letter today that showed all the players in the NFL (from Cal)," he said. "It had like 50 people, then it had number 51, Jovon Hayes, under the team part. It said 'you could be part of this long list.'"

Hayes says English is his favorite course. When he's not studying or playing football, the big lineman plays center on the basketball team and throws the shot for the Dorsey track team. He plans on majoring in business in college and hopes to own and operate his own business when his football playing days are over.

His Dorsey team is loaded with talent this year and Hayes expects bigger and better things from a team that didn't quite go as far as they wanted to last season.

"It is looking like we have a good team," he said. "We have a solid offensive line that will probably be better than last years. Our linebackers are good. We have a good running back in Stafon (Johnson). Our receivers are looking good. Our whole team just looks like it got better from last year."

Stafon Johnson is a shining star who is attracting the attention of Division I schools from all parts of the country. The exciting running back is easy to block for according to Hayes.

"He is a playmaker," Hayes said. "If I mess up on the block, he can do a fancy move and do what he has to do to score a touchdown. He is just an athlete."

While he gets letters from new schools almost every day, four schools stand out in the recruiting process for Hayes. Arizona, Arizona State, Florida, and LSU are all working hard and showing the big guy a lot of love. Although Florida and LSU are a long way from LA, that doesn't seem to be a concern. He said that distance "doesn't matter to me."

He had an interesting mismatched pair of favorite teams growing up, one from each side of the continent.

"Growing up I liked USC and Florida," he said. "I had friends out in Florida, so I liked them."

Florida is one of his favorites now and it's more than just the joy of hearing from a childhood favorite. Florida's coaches have let him know that he's one of their top priorities.

"The running back coach, Coach Drayton, he is really recruiting me," he said, "I get letters from him every day saying 'I want you to come HERE.' I also like the speed out there (in Florida). The SEC is a big conference to play in too. I also want to go against Florida State and Miami."

His two Dorsey teammates, Stafon Johnson and Mark Johnson also share an interest in the Florida Gators. Could there be a chance for the Urban Meyer staff to snag all three all-stars out of Los Angeles?

"It could happen, but I don't know right now."

Jovon Hayes is a mauler of an offensive lineman, perfect for the Florida Gators offensive line. Recruiting the offensive line is a priority for the Gators who will lose five seniors off the 2005 squad. Hayes would certainly help take some of the sting away from that loss.

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