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Hayes ponders college options

Trey Williams • Oct 30, 2012 at 10:11 PM

Science Hill quarterback Reed Hayes’ commitment to Tennessee for baseball might be keeping more college football programs from making a pitch.

Hayes said he’s only drawn Division I interest thus far from Middle Tennessee and Furman, but there could be a late push.

He has passed for 2,120 yards, 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions, and has nearly 2,800 yards total offense. He piled up some 350 yards in a 37-34 loss at Dobyns-Bennett last week.

Vanderbilt had someone there looking at Dobyns-Bennett quarterback Malik Foreman, who has since committed to the Commodores. Hayes might have gotten Vanderbilt’s attention, too.

“I texted Malik and told him, like, congratulations on the commit or whatever,” Hayes said, “and he told me that the coaches at Vanderbilt were bragging about how good I was and stuff like that. But they said something about me being committed to Tennessee for baseball.”

Foreman projects as a wideout at Vanderbilt, which signed Maryville quarterback Patton Robinette in February.

Hayes apparently has the blessing of UT baseball coach Dave Serrano to moonlight with the Volunteers football team.

“UT said they were kind of interested in me for football,” Hayes said, “and I’ve talked to the baseball coach and they said they were completely (okay) with me playing two ways if I’m that good or whatever … and if I can just handle my schedule, they’re fine with it.”

Hayes said he has no preference on which sport takes precedence in college. Some are suddenly saying it looks like he might have a higher ceiling in football.

“I would want to play either one,” he said. “I mean, the only reason I chose baseball was because that’s the one I’ve had exposure in and stuff.”

Hayes has always played baseball in the summer. He played in New York before his junior season, joined the football team in the fourth game and became the go-to receiver.

He played baseball for East Cobb (Ga.) this past summer. He was the quarterback in grades 7-9, and, stuck behind experienced and productive Justin Snyder, was the junior-varsity starter at quarterback as a freshman and sophomore. He was also a starter on a basketball team that reached the state semifinals last year, a season that included him being named the district tournament MVP.

So he’s not the prototypical quarterback that’s been groomed for college since flags dangled from his hips.

“I’ve never been to any of the quarterback camps or anything,” Hayes said.

Science Hill coach Stacy Carter said that lack of an offseason resume seems to concern college programs.

“It’s the camps. I hate to say it, but that’s what it is,” Carter said. “And it’s our area. We’re not getting any respect. Hopefully, by people coming and looking at Malik (Foreman), we can get us a little bit of respect.”

Carter said winning at Oak Ridge (9-1) Friday night in a first-round playoff matchup would help Hayes and some of the other recruitable Hilltoppers seniors get a more thorough assessment.

Hayes complements pretty good speed (at least 4.75) with the ability to juke in the open field or whirl away from pressure in the pocket. He throws accurately on the move, too. He can throw a football 70 yards, and the ball jumps out of his hands well even with minimal arm action.

“You’ve got a chance all the time with Reed,” Carter said. “That’s how it is. I don’t feel like I’m defeated with him, I mean, against anybody. If you don’t get on him he can wear you out. … He’s quicker than a cat.”

Hayes is quick to credit targets such as Malik McGue (33 catches, 663 yards, seven TDs), Jordan Olsen (15-406-7), O’Ryen Scott (20-239-1), Will Adams (15-234-3), Tre Webster (11-255-6) and tight end Grant Janeway, who has scored on half of his six receptions. Carter raves about the move McGue made on the exceptionally athletic Foreman for a TD pass on just before halftime on Friday.

“That cut that Malik made … he turned (Foreman) around,” Carter said. “That was big-time. I saw Foreman on him and I thought, ‘Uh-oh.’ … And he put a move on him.

“Foreman’s a player, though. I mean, golly, it’s like he’s shot out of a cannon.”

In fact, it was easy to envision Hayes airing one out and Foreman bolting under it, the other night. Perhaps the Vanderbilt scout considered the notion, maybe UT should.

“We’re trying to get UT to at least look at this kid seriously as a possible (two-sport player),” Carter said. “He just has to get his foot in the door. If he gets his foot in the door, they’ll see that he can play.”

Notes: Along with a talented D-B team, Carter was dealing with a lesion on his cornea that began to bother him during Friday’s game. “Basically, I had a fever blister in my eye,” he said. “It messed me up. I was with doctors all weekend and I’ve still gotta go two times this week. … They were worried to death, and were gonna let the surgeon look at it and all kinds of stuff. I’ve been on about three or four different kind of medications. It swelled shut on me that night. … all matted up. … They don’t look good, but it’s getting better.” … Charter (channel 20) will air its final replay of the Science Hill/Dobyns-Bennett game on Thursday at 8 p.m.

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