The 2011 running back from Michigan visited The University of Iowa for junior day on Sunday.
"It was way more than I expected," Hayes said. "I was really impressed. I thought it was going to be just a bunch of farm land everywhere, but it was more than that."
Hawkeyeinsider.com caught up with Hayes at the junior combine in San Antonio. He spoke a lot about his recruiting options in that piece.
Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern and Cincinnati have extended scholarship offers to Hayes. The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder also expected Notre Dame to increase its recruitment of him. Coach Brian Kelly joined the Irish after offering Hayes while he was at Cincinnati.
"I've received a couple of letters from (Notre Dame) recently," Hayes said. "It's nothing big, but I'm pretty sure they'll start recruiting me more heavily."
Iowa stood out the most in Hayes' mind on Monday, however.
"I haven't committed or anything," Hayes joked. "But I really liked what I saw. Coach (Kirk) Ferentz was great. He was real positive about the school. All the coaches were great. They felt like I could be a part of the school."
Hayes took advantage of family connections while in the Iowa area. His cousin, Roy Marble, who is Iowa's all-time leading scorer in basketball, drove them around town.
"It really gives you a comfortable feeling knowing you don't have to find out stuff later," Hayes said. "He played here. He went to school here. He can tell me the great things about the place and things I have to look out for.
"He can give me the positives and the negatives, what I can do and what I can't do."
Hayes' grandfather is Marble's father. Marble's son, Devyn Marble, will play basketball at Iowa next season.
Hayes hails from the Flint area and Devyn Marble lives outside of Detroit.
"He couldn't make the trip out here with us because he had basketball, but I'm going to come out with him the next time he comes to Iowa City," Hayes said. "I really enjoyed the campus, but I want to see it when the students are around so I can get a feel for what they're like."
Hayes said he doesn't have anything else scheduled in terms of recruiting, but his parents, who joined him on the trip to Iowa City, want him to start visiting more schools.
"My mom is kicking me in the butt to get it going so she knows when to take off of work," Hayes said. "I need to pick it up."