Daelin Hayes embracing unique role in first season at Cass Tech

Written by
Evan Paputa

2016 linebacker Daelin Hayes had an odd eight-week span from the last week in July to the last week in September.

On July 26 while enrolled at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Hayes verbally committed to USC during an unofficial visit to Southern California.

Two weeks later, Hayes left Michigan and St. Mary’s and enrolled at St. Bonaventure high school in Ventura, California.

In the last week of September after playing in the first three games for St. Bonaventure, Hayes moved back to Michigan. He enrolled at Cass Tech.

“Football is going to be football wherever you go. People don’t realize that Cass Tech academically is one of the best schools in the state,” Hayes (6-foot-3, 227-pounds) said.

High school football was a completely different experience for Hayes in California from what he lived at St. Mary’s as a freshman and sophomore.

“California ball and Michigan ball are like apples and oranges. It’s not the same. It’s a completely different type of ball out there,” Hayes said. “The top teams here are Brother Rice and Cass Tech. In California, it’s subpar because it’s so big and so much talent. It’s just different.”

Although Hayes moved back to Michigan during the fall sports season, he is ineligible due to state transfer rules.

Like a coach

Hayes hasn’t suited up for Cass Tech yet, but has embraced his current role of being like a coach. He is learning on a daily and gamely basis the other side of a being a part of a football team.

“When you’re playing in the game you don’t really get to critique yourself. On the sidelines, you get to evaluate mistakes and see what those guys did wrong, what they did right. Being able to critique the game from the sidelines like a coach,” Hayes said.

Taking a step back and watching the games and practices from the sidelines have improved Hayes as a person. He has always been a leader, but the time away from playing has helped him develop greater leadership skills.

“Being a coach on the sidelines is really like becoming more of a student of the game. Being a leader on the field and off the field,” Hayes said. “Those are key things that have helped me grow as a person since I’ve gotten back.”

Hey everyone go welcome Daelin Hayes ( @DaelinHayes_24 ) to the Trojan Family! #NewestCommit #FightOn pic.twitter.com/ORx6Vtx5Qh
— USC Trojans (@USCTrojansFO) July 26, 2014

When Hayes takes the field for the first time as a senior in 2015, he will do so after playing in only three complete games as a sophomore and junior. He was injured in his varsity debut as a sophomore in 2013 and missed the remainder of the season.

Although he can’t practice with his Cass Tech team, Hayes does as much as he can on his own to keep up athletically.

“I am doing little things on my own to keep up,” Hayes said.

Daelin Hayes three-game California highlights

Offer after offer

Even though Hayes only played three games in California, he put together a three-minute highlight tape and put it on YouTube to show colleges that he was worthy of all the recognition that had earned him offers from the likes of Michigan State, Ohio State, Notre Dame in addition to USC.

“Schools actually slowed down recruiting me when I moved to California because California is such a home-bread state that they don’t recruit outside,” Hayes said.

Hayes released the three-game California highlight tape the week he returned to Michigan and picked up seven offers in the first three weeks back in the mitten state.

“I got seven offers in three weeks so it has really picked up with my film being out a lot of coaches are probably seeing it,” Hayes said.

“In the first three weeks since I moved back, I got offers from Mississippi State, LSU, Oklahoma, Arizona, Arizona State, Boston College, and Nebraska.”

The seven new offers intrigue Hayes, but he still remains committed to USC.

“Yes I’m still committed,” Hayes said. “I’m not gonna put a percentage on it or anything.”

Graduation Year
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