Wise (Upper Marlboro, Md.) has just added another stud cornerback to its secondary. After spending the last few months in Texas with his father in order to work through a few family issues, Damon Hayes is back at the school he played his first two years of high school ball.
Although he's only been gone a half-a-year or so, the class of 2016 recruit has shot up to 6-feet-1, 180 pounds and is now running a 4.6-second 40-yard dash. Wise has produced its share of Division I defensive backs the last few years, and Hayes, along with classmate Myles Wolfolk, could very well be next.
"I was at Klein High in Texas for four months, and it was a very productive time for me," Hayes said. "I learned so much from the DB coach there, and he helped me a lot with press coverage. If you can learn how to press well, then that's really going to help you and make you recruitable. I learned how to be physical at the line, turn and pivot, use my hands effectively and things like that. But now I'm back at Wise, and I've gotten better."
Hayes didn't play a down for Klein, but he did recently take part in the school's spring game. He ended up with three tackles, three pass deflections and a forced fumble for a productive Texas debut.
Last year at Wise he had 35 tackles, three picks, two forced fumbles, to go along with eight touchdowns as a receiver.
"I had a pretty good year at Wise, but like I said, I've learned a lot since then," Hayes said. "I'm looking to do big things this year.
"I kind of play like Richard Sherman now. I love to press and get real physical, but I'm fast enough and rangy enough to roam around."
The brief hiatus notwithstanding, Hayes is a Prince George's County lifer who is thrilled to be back in Maryland. He has plenty of friends in the area and is looking forward to show off his expanded game on the camp and 7-on-7 circuit this summer.
"I was just at Georgia Tech's camp and did real well down there. The coaches are evaluating me and getting back to me about an offer," Hayes said. "Then Purdue, Texas, Texas Tech and Kansas State have all been in touch.
"My goal right now is to get these offers rolling this summer. I feel like once I run at these camps and coaches see my size and speed, they're going to come."
Hayes was scheduled to attend camps at Maryland, Tennessee, Ohio State, NC State and Michigan. He'll also take a personal visit to the hometown school, which he grew up supporting and rooting for.
"I'm really hoping Maryland is my first offer. I'm a loyal hometown kid and I'm loyal to my home school," Hayes said. "When I was here I knew Stefon Diggs, Wes Brown and Shawn Petty, and they told me how it is over there. They said the coaches are really great and build great relationships with their players. I also know it's a terrific academic school, and that's huge."
The Wise corner said he has not had contact with UMD yet, though he figures to once he visits College Park. He's also looking to draw interest from Tennessee, which has caught his eye as well.
"If I got that Maryland offer, man, that would be awesome. They'd be right there for me throughout the process," Hayes said. "Like I said, I'm a loyal kid, and I'd keep Maryland right there the whole time. I'm hoping they notice me when I go out there."
Stud CB Back at Wise
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