Hello: Ryan Hayes Comment Count

Ace May 30th, 2017 at 1:04 PM

Over the weekend, Michigan picked up a commitment from four-star Traverse City West OT Ryan Hayes. Hayes is the second in-state offensive linemen to pick the Wolverines in the last week, joining Grand Rapids Catholic Central four-star Jalen Mayfield. Like Mayfield, Hayes fits the mold of a Greg Frey tackle—big-framed, lean, and athletic enough to play tight end in high school.

"I just really liked it in Ann Arbor," Hayes said. "I liked all the coaches. It just felt right, and I was ready to commit."

The 6-foot-7, 252-pound junior said the Wolverines plan to use him at tight end to start and see where he goes from there.

"We'll see what happens with my body, if I move to tackle or not," Hayes said.

"I just knew right on that visit, I wanted to go there," Hayes said. "It was everything. As soon as I got there, walking around, talking to a few coaches and people, it felt right from the start."

Hayes had heavy contact with Michigan State throughout his recruitment and Notre Dame emerged as the presumed leader when they joined the fray. After Michigan offered in February and got Hayes on campus, however, the recruitment moved quickly:

Hayes is the tenth commit in the 2018 class. He's the third in-state commit (Mayfield, Aiden Hutchinson) and third offensive lineman (Mayfield, Emil Ekiyor) in the class.


Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
4*, #21 OT,
#262 Ovr
3*, #49 OT 4*, 80, #30 OT 4*, 93, #10 OT,
#102 Ovr
4*, #17 OT,
#205 Ovr

The rankings for Hayes are all over the map, at least in part because of a lack of exposure. Scout is the only site that has published scouting reports on Hayes, who hasn't hit the camp circuit. 247 is particularly bullish, which was also the case with Mayfield; they seem to like that type of lineman. Rivals is a major outlier on the low end, ranking Hayes as the #17 prospect in the state; that's almost certain to change.

Hayes is listed at 6'7" and 250-255 pounds. When he packs on some weight, he'll look like a prototypical tackle.

[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and more.]


Hayes is a natural. His parents were both varsity athletes at Central Michigan. His father played football, while his mother held the school's all-time scoring record in basketball for over two decades. Ryan plays three sports himself; in addition to football, he's a standout center for the basketball team and boasts a fastball in the upper 80s as a starting pitcher on the baseball squad. Even though he's one of the biggest players on the field, he lines up at tight end for Traverse City West, and as you'll see in the highlights he's not just a blocker. His coach ascribes to the Harbaugh belief that playing multiple sports is better than specializing:

“You look at almost every elite athlete and they played two if not three sports,” said Tim Wooer, head football coach at Traverse City West. “It helps on the competitive end. You compete every day for nine or 10 months out of the year. Basketball helps him with his footwork, explosiveness, his lateral agility and burst. Baseball, I don’t know if there’s a real close carryover from baseball to football with him being a pitcher. But you just want kids to enjoy high school and have the opportunity to compete on a daily basis.”

Wooer sees Hayes as very similar to one of his former players and a top Frey target in his first stint at Michigan, Jake Fisher:

“He’s just very athletic,” Wooer said. “He’s got good legs and can bend low. He’s about 255 pounds right now and he’ll be 300 pounds in no time. He has a nastiness and toughness to him as well. He will be very effective. He’s athletic enough to someday be a left tackle.”

As a tight end, Hayes uses his huge frame to his advantage. Wooer told Sam Webb he could see Hayes playing either TE or OT at the next level:

“I think he is talented enough to play tight end.  He is not going to take the top off the defense, but he is an incredible target. He has got good range, good hands, is athletic, and he would be one heck of a run-blocker in the heavy sets, which they use. But by the same token he would be an excellent left tackle down the road.  He is going to be able to do whatever Michigan wants him to do.”

Since Hayes hasn't played tackle in high school or hit the camp circuit, there's not much out there from people who aren't his head coach, but Scout's free eval suggests he has a lot of potential at OT:


Big framed high school tight end who will project to [offensive tackle] at the next level. Very good athlete, a three-sport athlete who is coordinated, has good balance and flexibility. Used as a blocker as a tight end, so he has experience in the run game and does well in that aspect. Must learn to play tackle and continue to add weight and strength to play left tackle in the future, but has a very high ceiling as a tackle.


  • Body Control and Balance
  • Flexibility
  • Frame

Areas to Improve

  • Power And Strength
  • Technique

Hayes should begin his career as a ready-made blocking tight end with some upside as a red zone target, making him an ideal fit in Harbaugh's heavy sets. Down the road, however, he should fill out and be a full-time tackle—and, based on his film and profile, he could be a very good one.


Michigan's primary competition for Hayes was Notre Dame and, to a lesser extent, Michigan State. He also holds offers from Cal, Central Michigan, Kentucky, Minnesota, Northwestern, TCU, Vanderbilt, and Virginia.


Traverse City West is one of the better programs in the region. While they don't produce a ton of Division I talent, the aforementioned Jake Fisher ended up as a second-round pick after playing his college ball at Oregon, and 2008 three-star lineman Rocko Khoury spent four years at Michigan during the RichRod/Hoke transition.


None that I could find.




Junior highlights:

Sophomore highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.


Hayes' utilization will depend on how he develops physically both before and after he arrives at Michigan. The current plan is to start him as a tight end, where he could see time right away in goal line and heavy sets, though given how much development he'll need at tackle a redshirt could also be in the cards. As Hayes fills out, he'll likely transition to tackle, where he'd probably need two or three years before he's ready to see the field as a full-time starter—in the interim, he's likely to be utilized as the rare extra OL in heavy sets who's an actual threat to leak out and catch a pass.

Down the road, Hayes has a ton of potential as a tackle. It may take a while to come together, but the physical tools are all there.


Michigan can really zero in on top offensive line targets with Hayes, Mayfield, and Ekiyor in the fold, including four-star GA OG James Ohonba and three-star IMG OT Daniel Faalele. Other positions of need include tight end and defensive tackle, and the staff will push to add a second quarterback (likely Tyler Shough) plus top targets at running back, wide receiver, and in the defensive backfield.

Hayes' commitment moves Michigan up to #7 on the composite team rankings. Here's the class as it currently stands:



May 30th, 2017 at 1:13 PM ^

I'm still surprised the staff is targeting two QBs with such a small class and with two excellent prospects in the last two years.  It seems like this is the perfect class to roll the dice on a guy like Milton, use the other scholarship discussed for Shough somewhere else, and target 2019 top QBs.  But what do I know?  



May 30th, 2017 at 1:24 PM ^

O'Korn is gone, Malzone is a non-factor, and Speight will be gone after 2018 (some have even suggested he might leave early after 2017). There's potential to only have Peters, McCaffrey, and Milton on the roster in 2018. So I don't think it's too far-fetched to want two QBs in the class.

Furthermore, I don't see many dire needs at other positions that NEED to be filled with that scholarship spot, assuming a decent job of recruiting down the stretch.


May 30th, 2017 at 1:33 PM ^

Fair points Magnus.  I do think they have have done a good job of filling some needs in the last two classes.  But....here's what worries me:

  • OT - glaring need, though they just signed a couple
  • TE - didn't take one in the last class, lost Asiasi, took a couple flyer recruits
  • DL - can never have enough and depth chart is thin
  • RB - always take depth and versatility


May 30th, 2017 at 1:53 PM ^

sure, OT depth looks questionable right now but should be much better 2+ years down the line when a current prospect would likely compete and help OT depth.  theyll prob sign 5-6 OTs bw last year and this class and provided theyre targeting the right guys, that should be fine.

unless theyre signing an elite instant impact frosh recruit (of which i dont think there are many this year and m doesnt appear to be in on anyway), a juco or a grad transfer, then another scholarship doesnt really help current OT depth (especially at expense of another area of need).  im all for using a scholarship on a plug and play OT vs 2nd QB in this class if thats the issue but its not.

harbaugh knows he always needs capable QBs to win and it makes sense to take 2 this year if 2 talented prospects fit the bill and want to sign up.  totally agree on needing depth at those areas you listed (and id have DT at the very top) but it doesnt have to come at expense of a legit 2nd QB (legit being key word - or a versatile QB prospect like graham)


May 30th, 2017 at 1:54 PM ^

Blergh on RB. Evans, Higdon, Walker, Samuels, and Taylor are all scheduled to be on the roster in 2018, not to mention a decent walk-on like Tru Wilson for depth. I'd love a top-notch RB, but it's not a "need" unless you can pull in an elite guy - and in that case, you take him over a second TE or an extra DE.

I agree that TE and DL still need to be addressed, but you're probably talking about 2-4 scholarships between those two groups.

blue in dc

May 30th, 2017 at 2:29 PM ^

we took 4 last year (Hall, Stuebe, Horingford and Filiaga)

Got two in the last week (Hayes, Mayfield)

Have Runyan possibly leading for the right tackle spot with both Bushell-Beatty amd Ulizio alao competing and have at least some chance of Newsome returning.

That could be 10 potential tackle candidates in 2018. Whoever starts at RT in 2017 is likely to return for 2018 and except for Bushell-Beatty and possibly Newsome, they should all be back for 2019.

Mr Miggle

May 30th, 2017 at 5:06 PM ^

QB is more important than any other position. In practice, you can move some QBs to other positions, but we can't realistically move any to QB. They typically take time to develop, so plugging freshmen in is a poor option.

If we're going to be short handed at a position, I'd much rather it be DL or RB than QB. At least at DL, you can move players along the line. 


May 30th, 2017 at 1:40 PM ^

Yeah and as it currently stands in 2018 there will only be two NT on the roster.  Maybe Speight leaves early but take a grad transfer then since you'll just be looking for a backup, our 2018 worst case scenario is three qb's on the roster with the more likely option being 4, that is way more stable to me than the interior dl depth chart. I'd rather take the dl guys.


May 30th, 2017 at 1:49 PM ^

Right, but this class has anywhere from 5-10 more spots, depending on who you listen to. I agree that the interior DL needs attention, but not in the form of 5-10 recruits. Change that 5-10 to 4-9 recruits. Can you not address those other needs with somewhere between 4 and 9 scholarships?


May 30th, 2017 at 1:52 PM ^

you have no chance




could be all we have for 2018


we also need a NT this cycle - getting a 2nd QB does not preclude that

rest of the class

1 - QB

1 - RB

1 - WR

2 - TE

1 - OL

2 - DL

1-2 LB / DB types


gives us 20 and we should be good at all positions for depth


May 30th, 2017 at 3:30 PM ^

Michigan took 7-8 DL last year (depending on if Paea ends up at guard) with as many as four potentially projecting to the interior.

Harbaugh and staff target hypercompetitive guys, but top recruits still don't want to be the third or fourth DT in a class immediately following one in which M took a full two-deep. 

C/o '18 and '19 recruiting will be about taking great fits at each position group and reinforcing the areas where the numbers project a potential gap. That looks to be TE and QB for this class.

I'm all for taking two QBs. The most likely outcome is the better performing QB stays, the other scholarship opens up in 2-3 years and in the interim you have depth and competition. Most importantly you avoid a potential injury/depth problem at QB that tanks an entire season. 


May 30th, 2017 at 1:52 PM ^

I would just say take DL, always DL. I don't think it's really realistic to say Speight won't be on the team in '18.

I've stated numerous times I think he won't finish '17 as the starter, so getting drafted would be unlikely. And he'd almost certainly still be ahead of McCaffrey and any frosh on the depth chart, so... why transfer? 

You compete and get ready in case of injury in that circumstance. But, ya never know. The kids these days, they don't much believe in waiting around! I do expect Malzone to transfer for '18 tho...


May 30th, 2017 at 2:41 PM ^

Chance of him leaving prior to 2018 season are slim to none, but it still is not an argument against taking 2 QBs in this class. We should always have 5 (or even 6) scholarship QBs on the roster. It is the most important position on the field and you always want to have 2 or 3 guys you can win with. In any given year, at least one or two of your QBs are going to be too young to play because they don't know the playbook or need to pack on weight. Another one or two of those guys is going to be the proverbial "bust" who just never quite transitions to the college game. You need bullets in the chamber.
Currently we have:
Speight, RsJr
O'Korn, 5th
Peters, RsFr
Malzone, RsSo
McCaffrey, Fr

In 2018, O'Korn will no longer be eligible, and all indicators point to Malzone being an imminent transfer. Assuming no more attrition of any kind and everyone develops as expected over the next year and a half, in 2018 we will have:
Speight, 5th
Peters, RsSo
McCaffrey, RsFr
Milton, Fr
Shough, Fr (probably)

If both Peters and McCaffrey are as good as we hope, then we have no problems. Lets just suppose McCaffrey decides he is homesick and transfers back to the west coast and one of Peters/Speight gets injured in fall camp. Now you have one viable quarterback and are one play away from a true freshman starter. I know this scenario is unlikely. It is also unlikely that we go 3 deep with all-conference calibur quarterbacks without one seeking a quicker path to playing time elsewhere. We need bullets in the chamber.

Also: I really, really like Shough. High school tape looks like Tate Forcier except Shough is 6 inches taller. Behavior/attitude issues aside, Tate started every game his freshman season and did not appear to be completely overwhelmed from a football perspective. He saw cover zero and knew what to do. The above worst case scenario shows exactly why we need that type of player in this class. Milton needs a couple years of seasoning before he is unwrapped.


May 30th, 2017 at 3:31 PM ^

You can do that with any position.  Look at NT, in 2018 on the only guys on the depth chart currently will be Dwumfor and Solomon.  One of Hudson or Irving-Bey may bulk up enough but lets just say neither can bulk and Solomon gets homesick and transfers to the SE.  Your only guy will be Dwumfor with an injury history. That doesn't exactly fill someone with confidence.

The coahces know more than we do but playing the what if game just doesn't seem worth it.  As of right now in 2018 there will be 5 scholarship QB's and 2 scholarship nose tackles.  It is likely Malzone is gone by then but I'm not so sure about Speight. If its because he is amzing and gets drafted that is wonderful but seemingly pretty unlikely.  If its because he got passed as Peters that means you have the guy who passed him and two talented QB's on the roster behind him plus the opportunity to take a grad transfer or walk on for pure depth purposes.  At NT you are gauranteed to play two guys a game and probably need 3 viable players to get through a season.  We won't even have 3 guys on scholarship as of right now, I'd like to bank a few more bullets on the d-line over a qb situation that tops out as slightly worrisome after two guys get injured.


May 30th, 2017 at 4:24 PM ^

You can move an anchor to 3T or a 3T to nose to cover for depth issues inside. If the situation becomes dire, you can move a guy like Onwenu from the OL. Yeah the defense will suffer without quality depth at NT, but you can scheme around it and still get stops. You can still be alright, if not great. Without a viable QB, you cant score on anyone. Other positions cant cover for lack of a QB.

Remember Threet/Sheridan? All the scheming in the world can't buy you wins without a viable quarterback.

blue in dc

May 30th, 2017 at 5:22 PM ^

I think even most of the strong bring in a second qb advocates agree that we should take some interior defensive linemen. If we get Mone back and bring in one nose tackle recruit, our depth at nose tackle will be better than this year..


May 30th, 2017 at 11:19 PM ^

But, once again, we can still take a 2nd QB and multiple D-Line players. Once again, this isn't an either or situation. We aren't telling a DT he can't commit because were waiting on word from our 2nd QB prospect. When it becomes a numbers crunch it is far, far more likely a position such as WR/LB/DB/DE gets sacrificed than it is for it to happen to a NT.

None of yours points are wrong.. but you seem to be arguing against a wall. Taking another QB has nothing to do with our DT recruiting. 

blue in dc

May 30th, 2017 at 5:17 PM ^

It seems more likely that Speight plays well enough to have a good shot at being drafted or badly enough that Peters gets a shot and that Speight grad transfers than it does that Speight hits the window where he plays well enough to stay ahead of Peters but not well enough to get NFL interest or that he gets beat out and sticks around to be a backup when he could likely be a starter at many other schools.


May 30th, 2017 at 2:42 PM ^

We're talking about scholarships and not just depth per se, right?  I think he's buried on the depth chart but he might stay on the roster in '18 for another year of Harbaughification with an eye towards grad transfer (unless I'm miscounting his eligibility).  In that sense we need to consider him as QB depth whether we like it or not.


May 31st, 2017 at 10:09 AM ^

but I still think 2 QB's in this class is a stretch with it being so small. I think Speight would only leave if he looses his starting spot to Peters, then he might do a grad transfer after this year. If that happens we are in good shape with Peters for a few years and two very good back ups behind him.

Find a top QB for the 2019 class and maybe take a flier on a lower ranked guy you think could pan out and your numbers are fine.


May 30th, 2017 at 1:39 PM ^

There are no guarantees, that is why. Remember Shane Morris? Most thought he was a surefire stud, turns out he was not. Harbaugh will never put this team in that position, where they're banking on just one, or two, guys working out. Bring in as many talented QB's as you can and let them fight it out. Meritocracy. 


May 30th, 2017 at 1:44 PM ^

As it stands, currently there is depth. We have 5 scholarship QBs entering the 2017 season.

But let's look forward to 2018. O'Korn is gone. Malzone has been mentioned numerous times as a likely transfer. That's down to Speight, Peters, McCaffrey and Milton. Speight could also leave after the 2017 season if he a) has a great year and gets NFL buzz or b) loses his job to Peters.

So there is a very real possibility of entering 2018 with only three scholarship QBs and two of them being considered very raw (McCaffrey and Milton). The addition of a fourth is almost a necessity at that point. Harbaugh wants at least four scholarship QBs on the roster and the preference would be to have five.


May 30th, 2017 at 1:46 PM ^

Reminds me of how Jon Jansen started out.  Good all around athlete, multiple sports, talented in basketball, started out as a TE then became a great tackle.  


May 30th, 2017 at 1:57 PM ^

Big Dan can be our only other commit this year and I'd still be happy... can't remember the last time I've been so excited for an offensive lineman recruit, he looks like he could move mountains


May 30th, 2017 at 2:05 PM ^

Fisher also played TE at TC West under Wooer (though IIRC he was a bit heavier in high school). They like to have a really good blocker out there, since they are a run-heavy offense, and then of course the play action can be deadly as long as that sixth lineman-type can run at least a little bit.


May 30th, 2017 at 2:08 PM ^

Most of UM's class looks like generally big players. 6'3'' CB, 6'4'' S, OTs at 6'5'' and 6'7'', on and on. Pats used to do this too, and had a huge D. Looks like Harbaugh likes em big too!