So when the 6-oot-5, 257-pound defensive lineman from Poly Prep High (Brooklyn) rolls into South Bend, Ind., with his mom Saturday, it will be his first time stepping foot on the campus.
And while he is excited about many aspects of the trip, there is one thing that brought out the excitement more than anything else.
"I want to meet (defensive lineman) Stephon Tuitt," Hayes said. "I think I'm similar to him. He's a big guy. He's 305 (pounds) and he's able to move all over the field. I noticed in footage that when he was Ireland he returned a 77-yard fumble (for a touchdown). I definitely want to get a few pointers from him."
Hayes is also looking forward to getting a feel of the campus and seeing how the academic structure is set up.
"I'm looking for a great campus where I can get work done and stay focused, and where the facilities will benefit me," he said. "I want to see a day-in-the-life of a student-athlete on the campus of Notre Dame. I'm excited about seeing the stadium, going to see classrooms.
"I'm excited about the ratio of students to teachers. It's great. It's good I'll be able to speak to teachers and they might know my name on a first-name basis. Now, you can get work done. You can stay focused."
Hayes was recruited to play defensive end in Notre Dame's 3-4 scheme, and he thinks he will excel at the position. And while learning more about the scheme is on his agenda, it is not at the forefront of what he wants to see at Saturday's practice.
"I want to get the image and the tempo of practice in my head and bring that to my practice," he said.