Notebook: LB Daelin Hayes adds wrinkle to recruitment

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame’s momentum with linebacker recruit Daelin Hayes hit a sizable speed bump last week.

Hayes, who visited Notre Dame for its season opener, signed a financial aid agreement to enroll at USC in January. The agreement binds USC to honor its scholarship to Hayes, but does not prohibit Hayes from enrolling elsewhere without penalty.

USC head coach Steve Sarkisian announced the addition of Hayes on Thursday. The Trojans will have to fight off the Irish for three more months to officially secure the highly coveted prospect.

Rivals rates Hayes, a 6-foot-3, 239-pound senior at Ann Arbor (Mich.) Skyline, as a five-star recruit and the No. 3 outside linebacker in the 2016 class. 247Sports slates him as a four-star prospect and the No. 8 outside linebacker.

With the signing, the Trojans gain the advantage of relaxed NCAA regulations in the recruitment of Hayes. USC’s coaching staff can have unlimited contact with Hayes and make public comments about him. However, if Hayes enrolls at a different school, the Trojans could be responsible for potential NCAA violations.

The complicated scenario became prevalent in the fall of 2013 when the NCAA issued a rules interpretation that allowed recruits who planned to enroll early to sign a financial aid agreement with schools starting Aug. 1 of their senior year. As a result, some players were signing with multiple schools. Controversy followed.

Wide receiver Josh Malone reportedly signed with Clemson, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida State before settling on the Volunteers. The unintended consequence of the rule change created a recruiting frenzy around Malone. The NCAA responded by tweaking the rule to only relax the recruiting regulations for the first school to sign the recruit.

LSU was one of the first schools to be held accountable for NCAA violations in February after a recruit did not enroll with the Tigers after previously signing an agreement. According to the Baton Rouge (La.) Advocate, LSU received penalties including a two-year ban from offering early financial aid agreements for mid-year enrollees and a loss of 10 percent of its recruiting evaluation days (21 of 210) in 2015.

Notre Dame waited until December to have its early enrollees sign financial aid agreements last year.

If the Irish are to flip Hayes away from the Trojans, a planned official visit for Oct. 17 could help their cause. Hayes had previously planned to attend Notre Dame’s game against USC that day, but did not respond to messages in the last couple days asking if he would still make the trip.

USC regained the momentum with Hayes when he visited USC a week after his unofficial visit to South Bend.

Commits on the way?

Help could soon be on the way for Notre Dame’s secondary in the 2016 recruiting class. Three Irish targets are expected to announce commitment decisions in the next three weeks.

The first could come as soon as Sunday from safety D.J. Morgan. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound recruit withdrew his commitment to Arizona State in July and visited Notre Dame for its season opener against Texas. California appears to be Notre Dame’s top competition for Morgan, who is playing in New Jersey this weekend for Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco.

Rivals rates Morgan as a four-star recruit and the No. 22 safety in the 2016 class. 247Sports slates him as a three-star prospect and No. 43 at the position.

Cornerback Donte Vaughn wants to make his verbal commitment on his birthday, Oct. 12. The 6-2, 195-pound senior at Memphis (Tenn.) Whitehaven recently said he will be choosing from only two schools: Notre Dame and Tennessee. Vaughn also visited Notre Dame for the season opener and is scheduled to visit the Volunteers on Oct. 10.

Rivals rates Vaughn as a four-star recruit and the No. 18 safety in the 2016 class. 247Sports pegs him as a three-star prospect and the No. 31 cornerback.

Safety Chacho Ulloa plans to announce his verbal commitment one day after Vaughn. The three-star recruit said earlier this week he will give his pledge to Notre Dame, Stanford or Arizona State on Oct. 13.

Ulloa, a 5-11, 186-pound senior, has already visited Notre Dame twice. He’s also scheduled to make an official visit to Notre Dame with Corona (Calif.) Centennial teammate Javon McKinley, a four-star wide receiver target, for the USC game on Oct. 17.

Ulloa had plans to take official visits to all three schools in October and November. Instead he will only visit the school he chooses after his announcement.

Rivals ranks Ulloa as the No. 27 safety in the 2016 class. 247Sports slates him 59th at the position.

New offers

Notre Dame extended three offers late last week to 2017 recruits.

• LB David Adams, 6-2, 225; Pittsburgh Central Catholic: The four-star recruit reported a Notre Dame offer Wednesday night after hearing from recruiting coordinator Mike Elston.

Adams previously visited Notre Dame in July with teammate Damar Hamlin, a 2016 cornerback target for the Irish.

247Sports slates Adams as the No. 3 inside linebacker and No. 119 overall in the 2017 class. Rivals ranks him as the No. 5 inside linebacker and No. 110 overall.

Adams already claims offers from Penn State, Pittsburgh, Stanford and Boston College, among others

• DT Jerron Cage, 6-2, 282; Cincinnati Winton Woods: Notre Dame would like to double up on Cages on the defensive line, but thanks to Ohio State, the Irish may be too late.

Cage, the younger brother of Irish sophomore defensive tackle Daniel Cage, received offers from Notre Dame and Michigan State on Thursday. But Jerron Cage gave his verbal commitment to Ohio State in July. Cage said Friday that the recent offers don't have him reconsidering his pledge to the Buckeyes but still attended Saturday's Notre Dame game.

247Sports slates Cage as a four-star recruit and the No. 7 defensive tackle in the 2017 class. Rivals rates him as a three-star prospect.

• DT Dalyn Wade-Perry, 6-4, 310; Sparta (N.J.) Pope John XXIII: Notre Dame added an extra bonus to Wade-Perry's unofficial visit to campus: a scholarship offer.

Wade-Perry reported an offer from the Irish before Saturday's game. The three-star recruit entered the visit already claiming offers from Alabama, Stanford, Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State.

Rivals ranks Wade-Perry as the No. 19 defensive tackle in the 2017 class. 247Sports pegs him No. 22 at the position.


Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Daelin Hayes on the sideline before the Notre Dame-Texas football game on Sunday, Sept. 5, 2015, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend. SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)