Local CB Gaining Steam, In Touch With Terps

Wise (Upper Marlboro, Md.) cornerback Damon Hayes opened some eyes during combine season, winning defensive back MVP honors at a Nike Opening camp, and since then he’s started to draw more and more attention from major college recruiters.

Wise (Upper Marlboro, Md.) cornerback Damon Hayes opened some eyes during combine season, winning defensive back MVP honors at a Nike Opening camp, and since then he’s started to draw more and more attention from major college recruiters. The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder, who clocks in with a 4.53 40-yard dash, added his first offer from Old Dominion in late April, while he’s procured significant interest from N.C. State, Purdue, Temple, Maryland, Wisconsin, Rutgers, Boston College and more.

“It’s really looking up for me; I’m just out here balling out every day, trying to prove myself,” said Hayes, who transferred to Wise from a school in Texas late last school year. “ODU was a good first offers since I have a couple teammates there and now I know I can go to college for free, but I’m definitely going to keep working for more. N.C. State, I think they’re going to be next, because they’re telling me they need DBs and I fit the bill. And there’s a bunch of others that might offer after I go to camps.”

Hayes plans to hit many of those one-days following the evaluation period, starting with Temple May 31. After that, he and his teammates will trek to Maryland, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa and Rutgers. He then plans to visit ODU, NC State and more following camp season.

As far as Maryland is concerned, Hayes saw College Park, Md., last year for a game and should be back in mid-June for a one day. He said he’s in frequent contact via Twitter with area recruiter Mike Locksley, who has let Hayes know the defensive staff is “really interested.”

“Coach Locksley came to my school twice, he talks to my coaches a lot, and he’s been telling me on Twitter he really likes me,” Hayes said. “He said they’re looking for big corners like me, and he said just come to camp, do my thing and I should be straight. Me and Coach Locks have a great relationship; he’s a cool dude.”

If the Terps’ offer is eventually extended, Hayes suggested UMD would immediately jump to the front of his personal leaderboard. He said his dream school is Tennessee (the Volunteers haven’t been in close contact), but “there’s nothing like that hometown offer.”

“Staying home and representing, who wouldn’t want to do that?” Hayes said. “I’d love to have a Maryland offer. All the big-time ballers from around here, they’ve been talking up Maryland, and it sounds like they’re really looking up. I’ve heard all about the whole Movement thing, and it sounds sweet. I’d love to have an opportunity to play [for the Terps].

“It’s a great campus, a great school and it’s right down the street so my family can see me play. It’d be great to play there.”

Hayes, though, admitted some staffs, including UMD’s, may hold off on offering until he picks up his SAT. The Wise corner said his GPA is in order, but “I have to get my SATs up a little bit, and I think that’s one of the main reasons I don’t have more offers already.”

The Upper Marlboro product said he’s diligently studying to raise his scores, in addition to the hours of field and weight room work he’s been putting in.

“Right now my main priority is my grades and just getting better all-around,” said Hayes, who has only visited Rutgers this offseason. “I’m not really looking for any offers or thinking about commitment dates or anything like that. I’m just trying to catch some eyes this summer, and if nothing comes of that, hopefully put out some good senior film. I’m confident though; I know I’m going to have some good options.”

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