Hayes gives junior day experience high marks

Notre Dame commit defensive lineman Jay Hayes talks about the highlights of his first Notre Dame experience, including taking in practice, talking with the coaches about where he'll play on defense, and breaking down his favorite part of the day.

Notre Dame defensive lineman commit Jay Hayes has been solid to the Irish since last fall, but the first time he laid eyes on campus didn't happen until Saturday on Notre Dame's junior day.

"I really enjoyed it," Hayes said, "It exceeded my expectations. My mom loved it too, she was running around everywhere taking pictures."

Hayes broke down his very first trip to South Bend with a description of the day's events.

"We got there Friday afternoon, and I went out to dinner with Coach (Mike) Elston and Coach (Bob) Diaco," Hayes said. "We ate the Gug (Guglielmino Athletic Complex). The next day I got up early to go to campus, which was only about 5 minutes from our hotel, and we ate breakfast really quickly and went to a 9:30 a.m. special teams meeting. After that I went to a position meeting, which was really cool and I got to pick up on some things. That's where I got to meet Andrew Trumbetti. After the position meeting, we watched a video about Notre Dame, met the coaches, and got to watch practice."

Similar to the reactions of other recruits IrishEyes spoke with after junior day, one thing stood out above the rest to Jay Hayes while watching the Irish practice.

"Just the speed was incredible," Hayes said. "They were going so fast, they didn't even have time to talk. During the scrimmage, it was so fast. They do their teaching in the film room, not on the field. You could get ripped up in the film room. I tried to commit their speed to memory so I can mimic them during my own drills this spring. I also liked watching who was doing really well during the individual drills and who was messing up. Most of the time, the guys that were messing up were the young ones. It was cool to see the veterans take the young guys under their wings."

Hayes got a chance to run by some questions with coaching staff.

"When I talked with the coaches, we were really just trying to get to know one another better," Hayes said. "One of the first things we talked about was how many defensive linemen Notre Dame was taking this year. Coach Diaco and I talked about it in November, and I'm their main guy right now. They told me I'm going to be a mix between a [stud] defensive end and 3-technique [defensive tackle] in the 3-4 defense, kind of like Stephon Tuitt. They need a nose tackle, so Trumbetti and I are going to shop around for one of those."

Not only did Hayes take in Notre Dame for the first time, but he also did some recruiting of his own.

"Someone mentioned that he (Andrew Trumbetti) might be close to committing, so I asked him his top schools in the beginning of the day," Hayes said. "He responded that he ‘might' commit today, and I gave him a hard time and said, ‘You might? You better!' I think what helped him see that he should commit is hearing the benefits of Notre Dame from a kid like me. He's already seen campus plenty of times, so that wasn't the issue. It's a coach's job to get the best players, so you don't know if what they are telling you is always true. When you hear the benefits of going Irish from someone that's technically not yet a part of Notre Dame, it makes a difference."

Hayes said Trumbetti had "dropped hints" all day to him that he was going to commit, but Hayes didn't know a commitment was happening for sure until the Trumbetti made it official.

"I was getting ready to leave to go back to the hotel when Trumbetti stopped me and told me to wait outside," Hayes said. "I was hoping he was going to commit right then, but I didn't want to get too excited, so I just sat outside and waited."

"After a little bit, Coach (Brian) Kelly walks outside with a sad face on," Hayes said. "I was hoping in the back of mind that he was joking. Then, he says to me, ‘Jay, you've got yourself a new teammate.' We all just started going crazy; we were yelling and jumping, and I hugged the coaches and Trumbetti and his parents."

Favorite part of Hayes' first trip to Notre Dame?

"Andrew Trumbetti committing. He's a great guy. We're going to be teammates."

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