Junior college RB Hayes commits to Bulls
USF coach Jim Leavitt continues to be able to pick up key oral commitments in recruiting, getting a pledge Wednesday from Mike Hayes, a top junior college running back from Houston.
"Having him come in and visit my family, my heart was set on South Florida," said Hayes, a 5-foot-9, 195-pound running back who chose the Bulls over offers from Kansas State and Southern Miss.
Hayes, who rushed for 1,269 yards and 17 touchdowns as a sophomore at Blinn College, said he'll make an official campus visit to USF on Jan. 22, but his commitment is a firm one after visiting with Leavitt and running backs coach Carl Franks on Wednesday. He's taking 16 credit-hours this spring to finish his degree and should be able to join the Bulls with the rest of the incoming class in July.
"The offense they run, it's similar to (Blinn), and I think I'm the perfect back for that system," he said. "I can run the ball, but I can also catch passes and line up in the slot against a linebacker."
Hayes will join a deep, experienced backfield, with junior Mike Ford back next year and senior Mo Plancher seeking a sixth year of eligibility. Junior Jamar Taylor is considering a move to linebacker, but the Bulls also return junior Aston Samuels, freshman Lindsey Lamar and redshirt freshman Demetris Murray, as well as freshman Bradley Battles. The current commitments include two running backs, Tiger Powell of Lake City Columbia and Marcus Shaw of Arcadia DeSoto.
Hayes said he is aware of the allegations against Leavitt, accusing him of grabbing a player by the throat and striking him twice in the face, but he said after meeting him in person, he isn't concerned about those.
"After talking with him, I don't think he could do that," Hayes said. "I watched the bowl game, and the broadcaster brought it up, but he also said the player had changed his story. He's a great coach, but he seems like an even better guy from what I've seen of him."
Hayes is rated by JCfootball.com as a three-star recruit, one of only seven junior college running backs to earn that rating.