Harbaugh on Ryan Hayes OT potential

Submitted by Indy Pete - Go Blue on February 13th, 2018 at 11:51 AM

On Harbaugh's 'Attack Each Day' Podcast, Coach Harbaugh discusses the 2018 recruits in detail.  It is a great listen that I highly recommend.  Notably, he discusses Ryan Hayes as a possible future star at offensive tackle.

“Ryan Hayes was actually a tight end in high school, and he’s about 6-7; talk about long, athletic guys you like to move into the offensive line,” Harbaugh said. “I think he will project very well to be an offensive tackle as Mother Nature takes over and he gets into the strength program here with Coach Herbert. I think he’s got a lot of upside to be a very athletic — like a Joe Staley, like many guys that have started out as a tight end and moved into the offensive line to play tackle. I think he’ll be fantastic.”

Podcast Link:


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Space Coyote

February 13th, 2018 at 11:55 AM ^

He ain't staying at TE. His TE upside is AJ Williams, and he might actually have less straight line speed than Williams (he rarely got separation on HS DBs, but he was huge). On a team that doesn't have an extreme need at TE (which, at the time, was a huge reason Williams started and stayed at TE through the Hoke and eventually Harbaugh years), you don't keep him there.

He may start there as a way to get him on the field as essentially a 6th OL with some pass catching ability, but his future is OL. 

Space Coyote

February 13th, 2018 at 12:00 PM ^

Michigan has three guys that may be able to slide into the OT spot from the year before (Hudson, Stueber, Honigford). One of those guys may end up inside, but all of them will get work at OT until they start seeing the field. Taking 4 OTs in two classes isn't terrible. But Michigan will want some numbers there to let it shake out.

Space Coyote

February 13th, 2018 at 12:14 PM ^

I think he fits better on the interior, but if he can reshape his body and improve his footspeed, there is potential there. I'm doubtful compared to the other guys on the roster, but he could be included in the group.

Gentleman Squirrels

February 13th, 2018 at 12:53 PM ^

I would say that only makes sense if Onwenu doesn't improve and one of the other options passes him up on the depth chart. However we saw him get better as the season went along and he was a positive in terms of run blocking before he got hurt. I would really like to see him improve pass blocking and stamina though. I also think we have options on the D-line. Mone and Marshall are both decent as DT and both have potential to make plays. Solomon is a star in the making and Jeter, Irving-Bey, and Paea are all good young pieces to develop into excellent players.

Space Coyote

February 13th, 2018 at 12:55 PM ^

So I would say that, unless he slips on the depth chart, I don't see any way they consider moving him to the other side of the ball. Especially because they have a lot of young depth at that spot as well.

Now, if he slips to third string, then yes, I would expect him to get another look on D. But even second string is a pretty valuable spot with injuries that can occur on the OL.


February 13th, 2018 at 12:29 PM ^

Thank you, SC. Obviously the staff really wanted the two guys they missed, but offensive tackle wasn't a gaping need like a lot of people think it is this year. When you have three pure tackles the year before, and then you sign two more, do you really need a 3rd or 4th that badly? Unless you think the guy can make an immediate impact, no.


February 13th, 2018 at 2:55 PM ^

Agreed. And the NFL doesn't want tight ends like him. It would be a good career move for him to accept becoming an offensive tackle.

I agree, though, that if he can't play OT early in his career, then it makes sense to keep him atTE for a year or two and use him as an extra blocker. Based on what I've seen out of him, I think he can play as a true freshman and probably be our best run blocking TE.

Indy Pete - Go Blue

February 13th, 2018 at 12:00 PM ^

Most of us figured and hoped he would be OT, but things got confusing when the Michigan Twitter account listed him as a 'tight end', and there has been recent buzz that he will project at TE.  Your assessment seems spot on.  He is an athletic kid with great potential.  I love Harbaugh giving the Joe Staley comparsion - let's hope it comes true!


February 13th, 2018 at 12:19 PM ^

I think two things went into it; West's love of mismatching him on guys consistently and how he did well there, as well as his build. He's tall, and has a frame he could pack some muscle on, but it's not there now. 

College strength programs are amazing though. We had a kid who wrestled heavyweight ~ 260lbs. I saw him 3 years later at MSU and he was roughly a trim 305. 


February 13th, 2018 at 2:37 PM ^

was that he was an OT.  That's what he's listed at, and that's where we have the need (far moreso than TE). 

Then reading the recruiting roundup last week, there was talk about TE that I thought may have been substantiated.

Love that JH mentioned Joe Staley because I've been so surprised they haven't turned any of their abundance of athletic TEs into OTs despite the huge imbalance in depth at the respective positions.  Groom Hayes as an OT all the way, especially with two other TEs in the class.



February 13th, 2018 at 5:41 PM ^

by his second day in practice. Day one sure go to the TE's. Day two, your an OT get over with the Oline where you belong. He may only be in the 250-260 range now, but he has the frame to put on a lot of weight and should be able to do it quickly.  Probably show up to campus in the 265-270 range, have a RS year and by the 2019 season will be around 300.

I think UM actually brought in a couple of bookend tackles in this class in Hayes and Mayfield and could see both of them starting for 3 years at the tackle spots.

Indy Pete - Go Blue

February 13th, 2018 at 12:03 PM ^

Almost made me forget our class was not ranked in the top 20.  We missed on every big target late, but there is still a lot of talent in this class.  Harbaugh has found diamonds in the rough at each stop; maybe this class will surprise us. (Let's hope!)


February 13th, 2018 at 12:39 PM ^

Yeah, I’m sure Harbaugh wasn’t pleased about missing on the 3-4 higher ranked guys that it looked like they might get. However, I don’t think he’s losing any sleep over the guys they did sign. There are some really good players (McGrone, Hutchinson, Muhammad, Mayfield) in this class and some that in time will probably out perfom their recruiting rankings (Barrett, Bell, Haskins, Welschof, Faustin, etc). This class will be just fine and Harbaugh knows it.


February 13th, 2018 at 6:56 PM ^

The redshirts from last year are pretty highly ranked guys. The team was young last year in too many spots, so we saw lots of talented freshman contribute. Yet, not all first years that redshirted are out of contention for spots people keep propping Hayes and others up for.

Just look at how Long, Hill, and Hudson came in and outperformed two first round picks from the previous year. Youngsters with redshirts came from a more talented class, according to experts. I imagine that Filiaga, Hudson, Anthony, Singleton all are likelier to play major roles next year than, say, McGrone, Hutchinson, Mayfield or Hayes. Of corse some will surprise, but this class was about depth chart potential—not guaranteed or needed starters. I believe JH can evaluate talent, so I assume he’s got a plan in place to not rely on rookies.


February 13th, 2018 at 12:04 PM ^

I loved Harbaugh's breakdown of the recruiting class.  He seems quite aware of how the rankings work and is more than comfortable with the guys they signed.  


February 13th, 2018 at 12:19 PM ^

Get 50-70 pounds on this kid and he could be an OT NFL prospect in 3-4 years. I just hope that he is 100% on board and committed to the position change. I’m fairly confident he’ll buy into the coaches’ vision for him.


February 13th, 2018 at 12:25 PM ^

He's athletic, has the right build to support what's needed at OT, isn't playing much at TE, and would have better a better chance at landing in the NFL as an OT.

Indy Pete - Go Blue

February 13th, 2018 at 12:33 PM ^

Literally, b/c he seems far more likely to be a millionaire as an offensive tackle.  His body and athleticism fit well there.  I know he has great hands, but on this team with this talent and the respective needs - this seems to be such a logical move.  Maybe he has a strong preference?  I hope things work out best for TWJ, regardless!


February 13th, 2018 at 12:48 PM ^

I don't think Ty Jr wanted to be an OT.  Also, he hasn't exactly been the best blocker of the group.  And that bar isn't high!  His lack of PT last year was partially due to injury (that hand cast...), but also had to be in part due to a lack of blocking ability.  There's a reason that Spanellis was the 6th OL the second half of the season, rather than some athletic freak that offers another weapon in catching the ball.


February 13th, 2018 at 2:59 PM ^

Quick take.  The footage i saw of Hayes in drills at camps showed me a ton of his potential for tackle.  He also displayed a "nastiness" that reminded me of lewan a bit.  


I also have high expectations for Steuber.  Excited to see what he shows in the spring game. 


February 13th, 2018 at 3:50 PM ^

Hayes said in the Detroit News article that he committed to UM because he wants to play TE. Now Harbaugh is telling the kid he’s an OT. I wish Harbaugh was more honest with these kids.


February 13th, 2018 at 4:47 PM ^

Dude you must not follow recruiting at all. This happens at every school. Without fail. Some are promised numbers or positions. Not saying he shouldn't be honest just saying most players end up not playing the position they came in playing. If he ends up at 280 lbs he's not playing TE. He's 18 who knows what he'll look like in 2 yrs

Elitist Bastard

February 13th, 2018 at 5:40 PM ^

I like the comparison.  Just hope he's a little better about not taking the stupid penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct.  I like feisty as much as anybody, but that dude seems to take it a little far regularly.