The Palmetto State is loaded with talent at the running back position for 2012. We caught up with Wade Hampton RB Blake Hayes to give you the very latest as he just came home from a busy weekend away from South Carolina.
"I just got back from Athens this weekend. I visited Georgia for Junior Day," Hayes told us.
The talented and versatile back apparently had a very positive experience while checking out what the Bulldogs have to offer.
"I enjoyed it a lot and they had a really nice campus. I had a good time there. One of the best parts of the trip was getting to see their new building and hearing why the players chose to go to Georgia."
Hayes says that the Georgia coaches informed him that they will be making visits to check him out. They also told him to continue to do well in the classroom and maintain his grades.
After leaving Athens Hayes says he hit the combine circuit by attending the Chad Simmons MVP Showcase. He talked about his time there and what events he felt that he performed well.
"It was good to get a chance to see all the talent that I'm up against this year. My L-cone drill was 7.12 seconds and I had a 4.3 second shuttle time."
Still relatively early in the offseason Hayes says he'll continue to work in an effort to shore up his skills in all areas.
"This offseason I will be trying to get all of my times faster. Getting bigger and stronger, and just working on every part of my game because you're never too good to stop working to get better."
During his junior season Hayes was hit by the injury bug and missed some time on the field but he still managed to rush for 1,200 yards, have 333 receiving yards, and score 16 touchdowns for his squad. His Generals squad saw another young back, Nick Grove, give the team a boost while Hayes was out so it allowed Hayes time to heal without rushing back.
Hayes talked about the game that he felt was his most memorable of the season as well.
"Berea was my best game because it was my time to shine to see if I was really the best running back in the state because on the other side was Eddie Williams and he's very good back also. They had the lead by 4 points in the fourth quarter and our defense got a big stop on 4th down. On the first play of our drive I took it 60 yards for the game winning touchdown. I finished the game with 3 touchdowns and 153 rushing yards."
Given his success the past 2 seasons on the field Hayes has a number of schools already heavily recruiting him. He talked about which schools he's hearing from right now and which ones are pressing him the hardest currently.
"Right now I'm hearing from Georgia, North Carolina State, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida State, Georgia Tech, LSU, Notre Dame, Clemson, Auburn, and Arkansas. Out of those schools I'd say North Carolina State and Georgia Tech are recruiting me the hardest."
Asked if he felt like any one of those schools very well could be the first to give him his first verbal offer Hayes says he feels like the offer will come but he's uncertain of who may be the first to offer him.
This offseason Hayes hopes to visit as many schools as possible he says in order to see what each school has to offer him.
His good friend and teammate WR Hakeem Flowers recently announced that he'd be signing with North Carolina State and we asked Hayes what his thoughts were about Flowers' decision and if he'd ever thought about playing with him again on the college level?
"Yeah it did catch me by surprise when he announced for NC State. (Laughs) He never told me where he was going but I'm happy for him with his choice. Yeah I would like to play with Hakeem again, he's like a brother to me."
The 2012 prospect says he'd like to announce his commitment like Flowers did this year, at his team's football banquet so that all of his teammates, family, and friends can be there to see his announcement.
SCPrepNation.com will keep you up to date with all the very latest concerning Blake Hayes and other top prospects here in the Palmetto State so keep it dialed in right here!
2012 RB BLAKE HAYES
WADE HAMPTON HIGH SCHOOL