Surprise! MI RB Justice Hayes is the newest member of Michigan's class of 2011.
That's more like it.
4*, #14 RB
4*, 5.9 #3 APB, #84 Overall
4*, 79, #22 RB
The three recruiting sites are in approximate agreement on Hayes' size: he's 5-10, and with weights listed from 175-182, I'm inclined to go with the weirdly specific one. We'll settle on an average of 180 pounds. Scout Profile:
Very conscious of clearing his feet from the arm tacklers going low. Runs bigger than his listed size. Makes people miss with subtle moves rather than exaggerated lateral movement. Very good runner in traffic helps him eat up chunks of yardage quickly despite not having blazing top end speed. Very little wasted motion in his running style. Vision in traffic makes him valuable between the tackles despite his size - Scott Kennedy, Scout.com
On himself, also from the Scout profile:
“I’m quick and have great speed. I can make defenders miss and take it to the end zone on any given play. I’m also not afraid to go up the middle, but I’m more of a shifty, all-purpose back. I still want to continue getting faster and work on my flat out speed. Plus, I want to get bigger and stronger and be more of an every-down back.”
The top-end speed comment is echoed by the scouts. ESPN:
Has good top-end speed and an extra gear to separate when he turns the corner but does appear quicker than fast at times. That said, Hayes has big-play potential with his initial burst and ability to reach top-speed extremely quick.
This sentence fragment essentially says "Justice Hayes has good top-end speed, but does not have good top-end speed." The Worldwide leader has much more:
Hayes is a quick, gliding running back with a lot of natural ability... Flashes great elusiveness and suddenness through the hole and second level... A great jump-cutter who consistently makes the first guy miss but will also stick his foot in the ground and get north; elusive but a decisive runner as well... Very slippery and does not give defenders a clean shot. Polished hands and receiving skills out of the backfield add to his upside...
Which all leads to the payoff:
Would make an ideal space-player in a spread offense at the next level; could develop into a great weapon if used creatively.
Though he's been exclusively evaluated as a running back by the recruiting sites, that seems to imply that he's athletic and versatile enough to play multiple positions at the next level, including slot. In fact, the main body of ESPN's breakdown sounds like the ideal slot.
Hayes's coach breaks down his game a bit, in comparison to former Michigan signee Reggie Benton and reigning Heisman winner Mark Ingram:
"They'll find a way to get themselves in the open, make guys miss and get into the end zone... Either they've got vision and can see things other kids can't - those cutbacks, those lanes, those little areas - or they don't." ...
Delaney said the one area in which Hayes stands out is as a receiver. Hayes has caught 41 passes for 448 yards and four touchdowns the past two seasons. "If nothing else, Justice could be a receiver in college," Delaney said. "Being able to bring him out of the backfield allows us to do so much more. His hands are better than Mark's, and Mark has real good hands."
"Could be a receiver in college," given everything else we've read, and the current composition of Michigan's recruiting class... sounds like a future slot to me.
Since Hayes recently decommitted from Notre Dame, he obviously held an offer from the Irish. He picked Michigan over the Domers and Tennessee in his re-recruitment. Hayes also held offers from almost the entire Big Ten (he lacked Ohio State and Penn State), including Michigan State, who cannot recruit in-state, it appears.
Hayes had a senior-year injury (fear not, just a broken wrist - unlikely to have long term effects, since he isn't Brandon Minor), which limited his production, but Scout brings the details on his sophomore and junior stats:
He rushed for 1,122 yards on 163 carries and five touchdowns as a sophomore. Also caught 22 passes for 239 yards and one touchdown.
Justice Hayes finished his junior season with 1,400 yard rushing for 15 touchdowns on 175 carries.
Those don't seem terribly specific (his Youtube highlight, embedded below, has sightly different junior numbers), so I'll look for more precise stats when researching Friday Night Lights. Speaking of which, expect a slight delay today, as I add numbers for Michigan's newest commit.
FAKE 40 TIME
Scout and Rivals are nearly in agreement: The former says 4.45, the latter 4.44. Hayes is a guy who's forthcoming about his own lack of top-end speed, and those are very impressive numbers. I'll bestow three FAKES out of five.
Here's his junior year:
I couldn't find any free senior video on the tubes.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
As implied above, it sounds likely that Hayes's eventual destination is as a sot receiver. It'll be a crowded backfield for the next few years, and the Wolverines will have an option in Dee Hart that seems more like a perfect fit for the RB position in this offense than Hayes is. He may get some backfield carries here and there, but the majority of his contributions should come as a slot. There's a chance he plays defense instead, but that seems unlikely.
So, likely position change, coming off a senior year injury, going to a spot that will have lots of experienced depth? Sounds like a certain redshirt to me. After a year to watch and learn, Kelvin Grady and Tae Odoms will graduate, leaving just Terrence Robinson, Jeremy Gallon, and Drew Dileo competing for a spot opposite Roy Roundtree.
So, it sounds like he won't be an every-down type of contributor until his redshirt sophomore season, which gives Justice plenty of time to learn the offense, and get a bit of experience as a sub before he'll be relied upon. I'm not sure if he might get a bit of time on the return unit before that, but it's another way to get him on the field.
As a junior and senior, Hayes has the potential to be an All-Conference performer. I also predict at least three years of horrible "Justice in Ann Arbor" jokes from TV announcers.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Hayes has probably taken the only available scholarship for an RB/slot player, meaning DeVondrick Nealy and Prince Holloway are probably out of luck. Justice's commitment gives the Wolverines the #1 and #3 All-Purpose Backs to Rivals, a formidable duo to say the least.
The story in recruiting stays the same: The Wolverines are probably looking for one outside receiver (though it's not imperative), a tight end, and one more offensive lineman. The rest of the scholarships should be spent on defense.
Speaking of that outside receiver spot, with Sammy Watkins's surprising commitment to Clemson, might Hayes be able to convince his buddy DeAnthony Arnett to consider the Wolverines again? I'm not sure, but it would be welcome.
Sam Webb said this morning that he still thinks Rawls will get an offer. He thinks that Hayes likely won't play RB and that Rawls, who he considers the best back in Michigan this year, is a great compliment to Hart...Sam has been in frequent touch with Rawls' coaches (Fred Jackson Jr. included), so he's definitely in the loop. He's obviously got a little bit of Flint homerism with the kid too, though, so this may be a bit of wishful thinking.
While everyone knows that you can't read too much into high school records, it's definitely caught people's attention that Rawls has been breaking records set by Mark Ingram...Watching his highlights, he looks like he can be a power guy who would be a very nice contrast to Hart.
I have seen Rawls and Justice play quite a bit , and I agree with Sam that as far as a pure running back that Rawls is at a different level than Justice, and that Justice is probably destined to play the slot. Thomas would have a lot more offers if his grades were in order. Justice was playing a lot of slot receiver on his own team before his broken wrist, as Detrick Goff moved into the area from Mississippi, and is pretty much a beast, and took over a lot of the carries.
I'm thrilled to have Justice in this class. Any time you can get an offensive weapon from a local school, steal him from a rival, and have him be versatile and highly ranked you have to be thrilled. Welcome aboard!
That being said, he was not my first choice of players I wanted to decommit from ND and switch to Michigan - that honor goes to the kicker, Kyle Brindza. Getting him to come to Michigan would be spectacular....even if it means having three specialists on scholarship.
Justice, if by chance you just read that a kicker would be a better get for us than you and your #3 all purpose back silly mad skills, ignore that thought as ridiculous. I am fired up to see you in the winged helmet. You sound like another on a growing list of super good kids, too..welcome!
but I will say this. He's making a great choice. Regardless of what you think about RR's job security, Fred Jackson will stay at Michigan until his son graduates. FJ is a universally loved coach who is close to retiring, and no new coach will fire him.
Also, RR loves to run the ball, and in this day and age, teams need at least 2 solid options at RB. This year, our RB production hasn't been very good, given D's need to account for Denard. Both Hart & Hayes will get ample opportunity to play significantly, but neither needs to carry 30+ times a game (which reduces careers in the NFL, just ask guys like Mike Hart and Ringer).
This has to be a record for de-commiting and then commiting again. I bet dee is actually pretty excited about this. More competition equals better performances. This team offense is turning into a nightmare for tacklers. I would not want to meet this guy in space
I could see using both Hart and Hayes in the slot/rb position like what Florida had success with during the Tebow/Harvin years. The more run and catch options we have on the field at any one time, the better.
Really? I never cared about who "owned the state." UM is a national program and recruits like it, and that means getting the best players available irrespective of where they came from. RR has done that, and that is all that matters. Caring about who recruits best in Michigan only matters to people who can't think of a more coherent or significant stat to justify his or her allegiance to a particular school.
RR is going to be here for at least one more year, and I'm predicting that given how he is recruiting and the improvements on the field, he'll be here for quite some time.
I agree, and the only bad thing (to me) about RR staying for another year, is the refresh of the "Hot Seat" talk. Consensus from everyone and their grandmother is going to be "THIS is the year that is make or break."
So often a back will overexaggerate his juke and lose some valuable "North Momentum", but it just seems like Justice makes people miss with a quick step and "whoop", he's headed upfield again. He does appear to have great eyes once he gets the ball, and is very quick to make a decision on which way he is taking it. Seems to glide through the line of scrimmage and is 6 yards downfield before he makes a cut or spin into the 2nd level. The number of missed tackles "in a crowd" let alone "in space" is amazing.
Very excited to see this young man wearing the Winged Helmet for Michigan!
One key difference between the two, though, seems to be that Hayes can run through arm tackles a bit better. I always thought Thomas fell down too often on first contact, though that seemed to be remedied somewhat his senior year. Sounds like Justice keeps moving, which should help him break a bunch of huge gains as teams cheat up.
"He's incredibly shifty and elusive like Mike Hart, only if covered in sweet combination of Land-o-Lakes Butter and machine-grade oil. He'll be a great receiver out of the backfield or in the slot, like David Terrell mixed with Braylon Edwards via some horrible but NFL-level Island of Dr. Moreau hybrid. Teaming with Dee Hart, they will provide UM with the greatest 1-2 punch since *pow" *smack" that combination that I just used to knock out that Bison on Dominos Farm. Hayes will dispense Justice like Judge Dredd, only with even more dogmatic ferocity-turned-self-awareness of the fallacy in a non-open penal system."
Hayes' junior-year mixtape -- versus Farmington Harrison?
Does Justice Hayes' junior year film open with a performance against Framington Harrison? Or was it some other "H" school with Packers-style unis? I gotta say how much I'd love the images of Hayes torching that team, which has long been a mid-level feeder for Sparty; but I don't see any evidence that Grand Blanc played at Harrison...
I caught a recap of the NW-Iowa game on the B10 network and Martin was announcing, and I realized his idiocy is not UM-specific. Just a waste of space in the booth - there has to be someone, anyone better qualified to talk about college football than him.
Like how Millen said UM would be much better on defense with 11 Mike Martins. The secondary would be a little slow, but man any WR in the vicinity would be lit up going over the middle and then ripped in half.
Those yahoos over on ND nation are trying to spin this in a positive light, I am not sure but when you lose one of your top recruits that generally is not a good thing (especially since they have already lost 4 i beleive?), unless it is Nd of course. since nothing bad ever happens there...oh shit, wait.
Man, that site is terrifyingly old and difficult to follow. NDNation does realize that message boards have evolved since Prodigy, right?
Whatever - every fanbase has a group of people who will love the kids who come and kill the kids who leave. I think Hayes will be a good addition to the team, and it is nice to know that recruits are still investing in UM despite the past couple of years. This team is going to be scary-good the next couple of years on offense, and I predict the defense will follow.
No Justice for ND or Sparty, in any event. The "Criminal Justice" tag lines in East Lansing would quickly get out of hand. Somebody might mention "Divine Justice" in South Bend and there'd be no stopping after that. See what I mean?
Or we could just say "Hayes," as we've done before...
Welcome to the family Justice. Excited to see some of these guys in the Maize and Blue. I'm still in shock and waiting for the just kidding post, but then again this is awesome for RR and the Wolverines.
“What the mind can conceive, the mind can achieve and those who stay will be champions.” - Bo