College coaches are always looking for versatile athletes at the skill positions who just don't excel in one specific area. Expect college coaches to love 2012 RB Blake Hayes of Wade Hampton High School then. Last season as a sophomore Hayes rushed for 1500+ yards and had another 500+ yards receiving for the Generals. Add the fact that he scored 22 touchdowns and it's easy to see why we were so intrigued by Hayes. After reviewing his sophomore highlights we were ready to announce Hayes as the #1 back in the state for 2012 currently. We caught up with him for an interview as he's the next player to be featured in our "UP NEXT" series.
Given his success as a sophomore Hayes admitted that initially it came as a bit of a surprise.
"Yeah I was but I just think if I put my mind to it that I can do anything," Hayes said.
His talents already have landed him on the radar of a number of schools early on in the process as he recalled his early suitors.
Given that he already has a number of schools in the mix we asked him if he had any early favorites he'd like to announce and he informed us that he's wide open to everyone at this point in his recruitment. That hasn't stopped one school from really stepping up their efforts in their recruitment of Hayes.
Hayes has visited South Carolina multiple times already and recently took in their Junior Day activities with his head coach. He shared his thoughts with us concerning the Gamecocks and their recruitment of him thus far.
"I think South Carolina is a good program. Coach Shawn Elliott is recruiting me for them. I think they could be close to offering me soon."
A humble prospect, Hayes says that he'll continue to work feverishly to improve his game on the field for his team and stock on the recruiting front.
"I want to work more on my speed and really all aspects of my game as a running back so that I can be ready for any and everything. As far as my strengths go I think my strongest points are my vision, cutback ability, and how I'm able to break tackles."
Hayes is looking forward to putting in that work to become a better player heading towards next season when he'll just be a junior.
"Well my goals are to get better and try to break my school records I set last year. That and to win more big awards. More importantly I want for my team to win the region and a state title."
With so many schools already in the mix Hayes already has an early idea as to what he's looking for on the next level when it comes to colleges.
"I'm looking for someone who will run and pass when needed. A school that has a good coaching staff and style of play that is easy to adjust to."
We informed Blake of where we have him rated currently among the state's running backs in 2012 and he replied, "Yes it does make me motivated to work even harder to hold on to that spot. That's only one of my many goals in life. I want to be considered number one in the nation one day soon too.
His prowess not only as a rusher but as a running back with great hands reminds us a lot of the nation's #1 back in this year's 2010 class from nearby Byrnes High, Marcus Lattimore. For Hayes though he says having great hands is something that is a necessity because running backs can get the ball at anytime so it's all part of the position. He works hard as a receiver as it showed immensely last year as he had 500+ yards receiving.
SCPrepNation.com will continue to keep you abreast of all the latest happenings concerning Hayes' recruitment so keep it locked right here.
A Closer Look At Blake Hayes
Favorite player: Adrian Peterson and Ladanian Tomlinson because they have the ability to go through you, can also use a stiff arm, or speed to go around you.
Patterns his game after? Nobody. I just play my own game.
Toughest team last season? Greenville because their defense was aware the whole game. The mistakes we made were just mental.
Major in college? Not sure right now.
Inside The Numbers...Blake Hayes
Bench press: 205 pounds
Squat: 315 pounds
Power clean: 185 pounds
Fastest 40 time: 4.65 seconds
2012 RB BLAKE HAYES
WADE HAMPTON HIGH SCHOOL