De’CHAVON HAYES, RB, 5’11, 190, 4.4, LACKAWANNA COMMUNITY COLLEGE, SCRATON PENNSYLVANIA:
JUCO running back De'Chavon Hayes takes in Oklahoma, one of his final two, during a visit earlier this fall.
With teams spread all over the field, speed is such a high commodity on both sides of the ball and that makes junior college running back De’Chavon Hayes (5’11, 190, 4.4) of Lackawanna Community College a big time commodity right now. The Oklahoma Sooners have always been one of the fastest overall football teams in the country, but they are always looking to add more great speed to their roster and recently tripped to Richmond, Va., to let Hayes know that he is a high priority in their program.
“Coach (Cale) Gundy and Coach Bob Stoops came by and talked to my dad this week,” said Hayes. “I was actually in the airport just getting back from a visit to Purdue, but they went ahead and talked to my dad and that visit went great. They told my dad they had high expectations for me and the visit went great.
“We still live in Richmond, Va., and my father lives with me. I am home for winter break and it was great they came out to Richmond to see my dad. That shows they really want me and really believe I can make a difference in their program.
“My dad didn’t get to come on my official to OU so this was the first time he had a chance to meet Coach Stoops and he said he had a great time talking with him and the visit went great. My dad knew about the success that Coach Stoops had at Oklahoma and the tradition that Oklahoma has, so he was just impressed that Coach Gundy and Coach Stoops came all the way to Richmond to talk to him. Everything they told him sounded great to him, and he really liked what they had to say.
OU graduates four senior running backs and no running back returns with any real experience from last year and Hayes realizes the opportunity that he has at OU.
“They are telling me that I have a great opportunity to come in and play right away,” said Hayes. “Coach Gundy and Coach Stoops say that they have high expectations for me, so I know what I have to do. I know I have to go in there and fight for the job and do what I have to do.
“In high school we ran a spread offense and at Lackawanna we ran a pro-style so I have ran in everything that OU is running in. So, I am used to running out of a lot of different offensive sets and I feel I can adjust to any offense OU wants to run. I can play your running back and I can play in the slot as well, so I am very versatile and can fit into any offense and any formation that you want to shift me into, and I think OU likes that about me. That is what makes me different from a lot of different running backs.”
Like he said, Hayes just got back from Purdue and liked what the Boilermakers had to offer.
“Purdue has a great campus and they have a lot of history at Purdue,” said Hayes. “It was very cold up there, and the coaching staff was great. Coach (Darrell) Hazell is a great guy and they all have a great plan up there, and they want to get back on top of the Big 10 Conference. Purdue was a pretty good visit for me.”
Hayes is through taking visits as he has visited Kansas, Oklahoma, Arizona State and Purdue and now it is time to sit down and make a decision.
“I have talked to my dad, talked to my college coaches and my high schools coaches, and I have narrowed my choices down to Oklahoma and Arizona State,” said Hayes. “Those are the two schools that I am going to pick from.
“Arizona State is a great school. The Sun Devils have a great school, and their offense is high tempo and they are very fast, and their running back is a great position. They are on a roll right now and it is a great school. Coach (Todd) Graham and Coach (Mike) Norvell are great coaches, and they have the team focused and ready.
“They say that my opportunities at Arizona State are very good. They want me to play running back, in the slot and on kick and punt returns. Oklahoma wants me to play at the same spots, especially at running back and there are not many teams that run the ball as well as Oklahoma runs the football, and they have big plans for me as well.”
Now that Hayes is focusing on two schools he will really try to narrow down what both teams can do for him.
“It is just going to come down to the program overall and the tradition of the schools,” said Hayes. “It is going to come down to where I feel I fit best and the school that I feel is going to benefit me in the long run. Oklahoma has produced some of the best backs in college football and they have two of the best running backs in the NFL, so they have the history and the track record for doing that right now. That is how I look at it.
“I hope to have a decision by sometime this week. It is just a matter of sitting down with my dad and then really thinking about which schools can give me the best opportunity and which school is the best fit for me.”
Hayes is not big, but his skill set is off the charts and he knows he can make an impact at either program.
“My running style is just natural and it just happens,” said Hayes. “I have run a 4.37 forty before and I have run a 10.7 100-meters and when I get into the open field nobody is going to catch me. I know how to get into the seams of the defense when I am running and I only need a crack to get into the secondary, and I am on them so fast that they really don’t know what hit them by the time I get there. So I know I can make an impact at the next level.”
Hayes says he is on pace to graduate and will graduate in May.