New Jersey RB/LB Claims 13 Offers

News has been relatively quiet so far regarding running back/linebacker <b>Jerome Hayes</b> from Bayonne High School in Bayonne, New Jersey. With 13 offers, some from Big Ten schools, things won't stay quiet for long. GoBlueWolverine Magazine spoke with Hayes and Fighting Bees Head Coach Ric Rodriguez on Wednesday to see if Michigan was in the mix.

At 6 foot 2, 220 pounds and 4.5 speed, Jerome Hayes from Bayonne, New Jersey fits in at linebacker or running back. Strength is not an issue as he benches 330 pounds and squats 405. As a linebacker he recorded 118 tackles his sophomore year as a strong side linebacker. His junior numbers decreased to 70 tackles as he switched to the weak side and teams avoided him. Still, he garnered second-team All-State honors both years and looks to add to the list of awards this year. On the offensive side of the ball he rushed for 1100 yards and 1had 8 touchdowns. His preference? "I don't care what side I play on," Hayes told us. "I just want to be on the field."

Hayes claims 13 offers already, including Big Ten schools Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Michigan. Local school Rutgers was the first to offer the talented player, and he also reports offers from Miami, Boston College, Virginia, West Virginia, Syracuse, Connecticut, and Maryland. He told us he really doesn't have a favorite at this time. "It changes from day to day," he said. "One day I'll get a call from Michigan and they are the favorite, then Miami will call and they'll be my favorite. I'm going to narrow it down to seven schools by the time my season starts. Sometime towards the middle of the season I'll knock it down to five, then afterwards, closer to Signing Day, I'll have it down to three. I'll decide sometime close to Signing Day." He said he'll take his official visits after his season is over.

Bayonne Head Coach Ric Rodriguez described Hayes as, "The best player I've ever coached. I've had several players go on to schools like UCLA, Ohio State, and other big-time programs, but he is the best." Rodriguez described Hayes' speed and quickness as, "He catches everyone and nobody catches him."

Michigan apparently was in contact with Hayes early on. "I received a post-card from them last year," he said. "My coach sent them some film and we started e-mailing back and forth. They were saying they were interested in me and wanted to talk, so I called and talked to Coach Carr and he said he'd like me to come to Michigan and offered me a scholarship."

Last summer Hayes attended camps at Michigan State and Penn State. This year he said he will definitely attend the camp at Syracuse and would like to get up to Michigan. "I went to Michigan State last summer so this year I'd like to go to Michigan," he said.

As for spring plans he says he's going to try to make it up to Syracuse for one of their practices, and possibly to Rutgers. he also said he would like to drive down to Miami for an unofficial visit. "I have my license now so I may try to do that," he said.

Hayes has had his eye on Big Ten teams since he was a kid. "I liked Ohio State when they had Eddie George," he said. "Then I liked Michigan when they had Charles Woodson. I just love college football in general and love to watch the games."

Hayes reports a grade-point average of 2.8 and says he'd like to major in Sports Entertainment or Sports Marketing. He said he would like to be an agent, sports journalist, or broadcaster. "Academics are going to be a big factor in my decision," he said.

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