Following in the footsteps of Chicago's James Adeyanju on Tuesday, Moeller (Ohio) High defensive end Jesse Hayes committed to recruiting coach Joe Rudolph at 6 p.m. Sunday night, ending a long and tiring recruiting process for the 6-foot-4, 230-pound athlete.
"I just felt this is where I wanted to go," Hayes says.
Hayes, a three-star athlete and ranked the No.50 defensive end by Scout.com, picked UW over Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Oregon, Nebraska, North Carolina State, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
According to his high school coach John Rodenberg, Hayes started to shut it down after his official visit to Wisconsin on October 9, even canceling his visit the following weekend to Nebraska.
"He was really happy with the visit. He felt comfortable there. He did visit Oregon at the end of September because he had an opportunity to, but he isn't that type of kid. He's really low key. He's a family-type kid. He's not the type of kid that's always out partying. He's got a great relationship with his dad and I think he felt comfortable with the support structure at Wisconsin."
The Hayes family knows a lot of people in Madison because of Jesse's father, Jay, having coached outside linebackers and special teams under Barry Alvarez from 1995-98. Jay Hayes is the current defensive line coach for the Cincinnati Bengals, a position that certainly helped Hayes grow during his three years on Moeller's varsity level.
"I knew he had a lot of athleticism and that was glaring," Rodenberg said. "As a junior, he had Michigan State defensive Marcus Rush mentor him and did things that were really first class. Jesse learned a lot from that and he became his own person to the point where he has bettered some guys behind him. It's been a really good situation. He doesn't act like he's first class or real cocky. He takes it upon himself to be better than his opponents."
A solid tackler with a great motor, Rodenberg has no doubt Hayes is going to be a good player in Wisconsin's system.
"Wisconsin has a discipline system and I like our kids going to the Big Ten," he said. "I like their coaches. I think they do a good job of watching their players and having a good discipline structure. Wisconsin is a place familiar with his family, especially with his dad having coached there. I think he'll have to redshirt his first year and gain some weight. I think he'll need to put on at least 40 pounds, which won't be too much of a problem."
"I can see them bringing him along slowly. His speed is by far his greatest asset and he has a frame to put on a lot of weight. I see him in a great situation, going to a successful program, be able to redshirt and grow."
Hayes is the 18th verbal commitment to Wisconsin's 2011 recruiting class. The Badgers coaching staff is expected to take between three and five more players.