Film study: Notre Dame LB enrollee Daelin Hayes

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

LB Daelin Hayes, 6-3, 239; Ann Arbor (Mich.) Skyline.

The numbers: Complete stats for Hayes’ injury-shortened season were not available. Counting from film, Hayes appeared to make 12 tackles and assisted on two sacks in three games as a senior at Ann Arbor Skyline. He also caught a touchdown pass for the Eagles (4-5).

The rankings: Rivals – Five stars, No. 7 outside linebacker. 247Sports – Four stars, No. 10 outside linebacker.

FILM BREAKDOWN

First impression: Hayes is a hard-hitting linebacker with athleticism to spare. Hayes looks equally comfortable in coverage and chasing down quarterbacks. He should play early at linebacker or defensive end for Notre Dame.

Strengths: Few high school linebackers are as physically developed as Hayes. His imposing frame makes him look out of place on the field. Yet he still runs like a linebacker and can cover ground quickly. His physical strength is clear as he throws around opposing players. Hayes brings his whole body with him when delivering a hit. He has shown a nose for penetrating in the backfield and chasing plays down from behind.

He did what? (:05) Don’t look away from the screen after starting the film. On the first play, Hayes runs through the lineman trying to block him and levels a receiver running out a reverse fake. The violence Hayes inflicts on the players is inconsequential to the play’s outcome but it is impressive nonetheless … (:32) Hayes takes on a pulling lineman and clogs the hole. Meanwhile, the running back slips outside of Hayes, but he still recovers to chase down the ball carrier for a short gain … (1:24) If Notre Dame ever wants to get creative with a goal line package, maybe it should consider Hayes. From his tight end position, he blocks his defender more than 15 yards downfield and has complete control of him.

Competition level: Hayes did not face a lot of offensive line talent in his three games as a senior. The best team he faced was Saline, which finished 10-1 and ranked the No. 21 team in Michigan by MaxPreps. But where Hayes proved his talent in the past was on the recruiting camp scene. He impressed all the way back before his junior season at the Irish Invasion. Hayes went on to excel at Rivals and Nike camps, including The Opening last July.

Left to prove: The two biggest concerns for Hayes are obvious: stability and position fit. With each of his last three seasons being cut short (twice with shoulder injuries and once because of a family move), Hayes hasn’t been able to put together a full season’s worth of production. The positive side of his injury history is that each shoulder had separate issues and neither was a recurring injury. But it remains to be seen if Hayes can sustain a healthy body at Notre Dame. As for his position fit, both linebacker and defensive end could be suitable. Some believe he’s too athletic of a linebacker to try to force into a defensive end. Yet Notre Dame’s lack of difference makers at the position could coax the Irish into making the move. Either way, Hayes should find a short path to playing time. Notre Dame can figure out the shorter path this spring.

tjames@ndinsider.com

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Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Linebacker Daelin Hayes enrolled at Notre Dame earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of Rivals)