Height: 6'4""
Weight: 258 lbs.
Class: Senior (red shirt)
School: Notre Dame

A former four-star recruit out of Ann Arbour, Michigan, that attended Skyline High School. He was the fifth-ranked player in Michigan during the 2016 cycle and was the 133rd national recruit, according to 247 Sports. He was recruited as an athlete, and Brian Kelly deemed him an edge rusher.

In his five injury-plagued seasons with the Fighting Irish, Hayes recorded 97 tackles, 20.5 tackles for a loss, nine sacks, one interception, four passes defended, and four forced fumbles. He was named team captain in 2020 and is heralded for all the work he does in the community. He was a Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year finalist in 2020, as well as being a Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year finalist.


A torn labrum in his shoulder forced Hayes to miss all but three games of the 2019 season. Hayes returned to school and played in 2020, which earned him a bid to the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl.


Thick legs and an imposing build is combined with good athletic traits. He has long limbs and is a bit high cut in the waist. He has very good burst and juice off the snap, as well as lateral quickness, foot speed, and explosiveness.

He was recruited at 185 pounds and has added 60+ pounds of weight since arriving on campus. He played the Vyper position in Notre Dame’s defense, which is more like a 3-4 outside linebacker--aligned mostly in a 2 point stance.

Hayes doesn’t have a ton of college production, but he has interesting pass-rushing traits, enough athletic ability to cover well into the flat, and is a solid run defender. Hayes has a very effective speed rush and can dip/bend well at the waist.

He has shown the ability to quickly establish the half-man relationship while bending through contact and using his hands well. He’s crafty with his hand usage and used the club and the push-pull combo well. Hayes is a sneaky prospect.

Hands are heavy and can stun tackles--he’s shown that as a pass rusher and in the run game. He can set the edge, use his length to lock out, and then find the football. He has good functional play strength at the point of attack and doesn’t allow himself to get bullied by tackles.

Showed an ability to get skinny when slanting inside while being disruptive in the backfield. He does a solid job tackling and using his long arms to bring ball carriers down.

He can drop well into coverage and is a fluid mover. He can flip his hips well for an edge rusher and get to the flat with solid speed. This effective dual-threat ability will put stress on opposing offenses. Overall, a bit of an underachiever who wasn’t in an every-down role.

Despite that, Hayes still possesses good athletic traits, heavy hands, some interesting pass rushing upside, and can effectively function as a run defender and in coverage. Someone will get a very good development piece on Day 3. 

This article first appeared on FanNation Giants Country and was syndicated with permission.

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