Daelin Hayes is about to embark on one last act as a high school football player.
Next week the four-star linebacker will travel from Ann Arbor, Mich., to San Antonio for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Hayes won’t be able to participate as he continues to recover from a shoulder injury, but he’s still eager for the event.
“I just want to take in the experience in itself,” Hayes said. “It’s a heck of an experience to have coming out of high school. I guess that’s your last high school experience, so just taking it all in. I’ve been around a lot of the top guys where you kinda get a feel for everybody. It’ll be cool to have that previous existing relationship with them going in.”
Hayes joins fellow running back Tony Jones Jr., offensive tackle Tommy Kraemer and long snapper John Shannon as Notre Dame commitments at the event.
Jones, Kraemer and Shannon are all members of the East team. Hayes is on the West alongside four-star receiver Javon McKinley and five-star linebacker Caleb Kelly.
Doing some recruiting will be on the agenda. But Hayes doesn’t want to overdo it.
“I think that’s gonna happen naturally,” he said. “I don’t wanna be like a coach or anything. Those guys have enough of that. I know how stressful that process is. That was always one of the biggest things. I just want to kind of let it happen. I know personally how the stuff can be annoying with 1,000 people in your ear, everyone trying to tell you where to go.
“Obviously, it’s just building a relationship with those guys and telling them Notre Dame is the place to be.”
Hayes will arrive midweek along with other injured All-Americans unable to participate.
After all the events wrap up in San Antonio, Hayes will return home and make a quick turn around to Notre Dame. He’s set to enroll for the second semester. New students move in Jan. 10 and begin classes two days later.
He’s been conditioning over the last few weeks in hopes of preparing himself for the offseason workout regimen.
“It’s been a lot of running,” Hayes said. “A lot of running and a lot of conditioning. You can do as much as you want and still be behind coming in as a freshman. That was one of the things that they always said, ‘It doesn’t matter how much you do, you’ll still be behind.’ But just to be able to do something, get your legs moving and everything. Just a lot of running and a lot of conditioning. I haven’t been able to do a lot of upper body with my shoulder recovery.”
Hayes said he’ll be healthy come fall practice barring any setbacks. He hopes to be ready for spring practice as getting with the Notre Dame team doctors should aid the recovery effort.
Head coach Brian Kelly stressed this possibility in the recruiting process.
“I’ll be 100 percent ready to go for fall,” Hayes said. “Right now it’s just spring ball. I’m two months post op, so a lot of my range of motion and stuff like that is coming back. I won’t be able to start heavy lifting for about another month and a half. But it’s coming. It’s on pace for what it should be.”