Weight: 190 lbs.
High school: Grand Blanc (MI) Grand Blanc
Position: Running back
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #5
Last year: I ranked Hayes #55 and said he would have 15 carries for 60 yards as a backup. He had 2 carries for 6 yards, 6 catches for 40 yards, and 1 kick return for 8 yards.
Hayes had quite a roller coaster of a year last year. To begin the season, he was buried on the depth chart at running back. In the middle of the year, the coaches stated publicly that Hayes would move to wide receiver permanently. At the end of the year, he started the bowl game against Kansas State - at running back. Despite starting a game at running back, he finished the year with 2 carries. How many running backs in history have started a game but finished with fewer than 3 carries in the whole season?
Hayes's problem seems to be that he's not quick enough to be a scat back, and he's not big enough to power through tackles. And while Michigan hasn't exactly been rife with running back talent over the past couple years, they have had guys who were either quick or big, who were enticing enough to put on the field regularly. One big obstacle in his way was Fitzgerald Toussaint, who is now trying to make it in the NFL. Another medium-sized obstacle was Thomas Rawls, who will be pounding away behind Central Michigan's line this season. That leaves two boulder-sized barriers (and a potential third) in sophomores Derrick Green and DeVeon Smith (and Ty Isaac, who will probably be forced to redshirt after transferring from USC). Normally, I would probably put the third-string running back lower in the countdown, but Hayes is supposedly the best pass protector of the bunch and could carve out a role as a Vincent Smith-style blocker and designated screen guy. Redshirt freshman Ross Douglas is a small, quick guy and Dennis Norfleet could catch some screens, but both are inexperienced at playing running back in college. Hayes will probably once again have more receptions than carries.
Prediction: Backup running back, third down guy; 10 carries for 35 yards, 12 receptions for 100 yards and 1 touchdown