Camps, all-star events, yea, they still matter. Just ask Maryland Heights (Mo.) Pattonville offensive lineman Marquis Hayes.
He may have been on the radar of some schools, but Oklahoma took immediate notice following an impressive showing by Hayes at the Kansas City Rivals Five-Star regional event.
How fast was it? Hayes said OU offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh flew up to Missouri to meet him just two days later back in May.
Hayes, ranked No. 44 offensive tackle for the 2017 class, made his first trip to Norman earlier this week, and it’s clear OU and the town made the best impression possible.
“I really liked Norman. It was definitely one of the best visits I’ve had so far,” Hayes said. “It’s a big-time program. I’m talking with Coach Bob Stoops and Coach B (Bedenbaugh). And I’m thinking I’m really hitting here with Coach Stoops. It was crazy.”
Hayes’ offer total since impressive performances at the Rivals events have increased dramatically, but the Sooners aren’t in that list just yet.
He said he wasn’t disappointed about leaving Norman without the offer because Bedenbaugh made it pretty clear what has to happen for things to work in his favor.
“He wants to offer me,” Hayes said. “The thing is right now he’s making sure my transcripts are OK. He doesn’t want to make that offer without knowing my grades.”
It could also be a numbers game when it comes to the Sooners. Hayes said he was told by Bedenbaugh the Sooners are only taking three offensive linemen for the 2017 class. OU already has one Scout 300 commit in McKinney (Texas) Boyd offensive guard Tyrese Robinson.
The Sooners have also made a lot of headway with De Soto (Texas) High offensive guard Xavier Newman following an offer last month to the Texas commitment.
Both Robinson and Newman are guards. And though Hayes has the size to be tackle, Hayes said Bedenbaugh said Hayes could be something special, could be an elite offensive guard.
The curveball in the equation is what happens with offensive guard JohnCarlo Valentin. A signee for the 2016 class, he has still not yet arrived on campus. And if he doesn’t indeed qualify, the door might bust open in a major way for Hayes.
Ideally, Hayes would like to wait before making the call on his college choice. But he understands the process and understands that if a school like OU jumps into the mix, it might be better to go ahead and make that choice before it’s too late.
“At this point, I don’t really know,” said Hayes about a decision. “If it comes early, it comes early. If it comes on signing day, it comes then. If something big happened like an Oklahoma, I might have to think about that. I don’t want those two spots to be picked already before me.”
Hayes said he had no idea the camp outings were going to bolster his recruitment as much as it has, but he’s happy he was given the opportunity to show what he could do.
The biggest difference with Hayes, he said, was he’s not slacking anymore at any time. He’s giving it 100 percent every snap and really working on his pass blocking.
Hayes said he is going to visit Miami (Fla.) this weekend and that will do it for visits before his senior season. To go with OU and Miami, Hayes said Missouri continues to show the steady interest.