In this installment of The Recruiting Notebook, we meet an athletic and talented defender who can grow into the foundation of the Canes’ defense: Largo (FL) 4-star LB Adarius Hayes.
As Miami looked to continue to stack top end talent on the defensive side of the ball, they turned their attention to a twitchy, lengthy defender: Largo (FL) LB Adarius Hayes.
A 6’4” 210lb defender, Hayes has the prototypical build for a modern linebacker. And, with that prototypical size, Hayes has long been one of the best players at his position nationally. As a freshman for Largo, Hayes posted 58 tackles, 3 TFLs, 2 sacks, 3 PBUs, and 1 INT, which he returned 75 yards for a touchdown. Those are great numbers for a senior; Hayes did that as a high school FRESHMAN.
Seeing his size and potential, teams like Florida State, Maryland, and Louisville all offered Hayes scholarships before his breakout freshman season. Suffice it to say that after that season, and through the remainder of his HS career, other teams, including Miami, jumped in with offers as well.
Hayes followed up that strong freshman season with a monster sophomore year. 108 tackles, 18 TFLs, 1 sack, 1 hurry, and 2 PBUs. For that stellar season, Hayes not only continued to rack up offers, he was named to the MaxPreps sophomore All-American team.
Hayes’s junior season continue his streak of being a man among boys with top-level performance. 121 tackles, 14 TFLs, 3 hurries, 3 PBUs, 6 FF, and 1 FR. It was through this junior season, like with many recruits, where Hayes’s recruitment took off. Oh yeah, and Hayes was also named an Under Armour All-American after his junior season.
Hayes made the 2.5 hour trip up to Gainesville multiple times through and after his junior seaason. He also visited UCF in Orlando, but only once. And, it became clear that Florida had the upper hand in this recruitment. Taking their early lead fully in hand, Florida got Hayes on campus for Junior Day in January 2023. And, on that visit, Hayes committed to the Gators for his college team.
For the better part of a year, teams such as Miami were chasing after the talented defender, but he remained firm on his commitment to UF. However, as the Gators struggled to a 5-7 record, Miami went 7-5 (a 2 game improvement from 2022) and gained a bunch of momentum on the recruiting trail. With their persistent effort to get Hayes to flip from Florida, Miami was able to get the talented defender on campus for a last-weekend official visit, just days before the early signing period began.
That trip proved to be fruitful. After considering all his options, Hayes decided that he’d rather be a Cane than a Gator, and he flipped his commitment to Miami on the first day of the Early Signing Period, giving Mario Cristobal another recruiting win, and dealing Billy Napier a big, big blow to his current recruiting class.
If you’re wondering whether Hayes continued his strong play as a senior, the answer is an unqualified yes. 108 tackles, 3 TFLs (seems low, but whatever), 1 sack, 1 PBU, and 1 interception.
On the 247sports composite, Hayes is a 4-star prospect, the #7 LB nationally, #12 in the State of Florida, and #73 player overall in this class.
Hayes flipped his commitment to Miami from Florida on National Signing Day, and picked Miami from a robust list of 21 scholarship offers from around the country.
As A Player
At 6’4” 210lbs, Hayes is well built for the MIKE linebacker position he played at the prep level. He’ll need to add some weight, maybe up to 225-230lbs, but that shouldn’t be hard, and it shouldn’t rob Hayes of his athleticism.
Hayes is a downhill, heat seeking missile on defense. He’s quick to dianose plays, and once he does, he changes direction to get to the ball carrier in a hurry. Hayes is fast and PHYSICAL all over the field, and routinely causes huge, highlight reel collisions. If a runner doesn’t have their helmet strapped on tight, it’s liable to go flying once Hayes gets on the scene.
Hayes is elite at “see ball, get ball” He diagnoses zone-reads quickly, and, as stated above, gets downhill to the running back with quickness and fury. Imagine Corey Flagg Jr.’s run diagnosis skills, but in a body that’s 5inches taller and 2 steps faster. That’s what Miami’s getting in Hayes.
Hayes runs around more blocks than he takes on and sheds. He’s so much quicker than HS OL that he’s able to run freely around them even when they try to get a hand on him. At the college level, he’ll need to work on (or show more than on his film) his ability to take on blocks from bigger OL, and shed them to make plays.
Blitzing is something that Hayes seldom does, but he shows fairly decent instincts and timing when doing so. At his size and position, this is something he’ll need to work on, particularly because Miami blitzes their linebackers often.
In a similar vein, Hayes has the athleticism to be a decent coverage player, but he hasn’t done it much. He’s more adept to be seen dropping into zone coverage than playing man against at tight end up the seam. As long as he’s not a negative player in this engagement, Hayes adds value in so many other areas that that will work.
For another eval of Hayes, here’s one from 247sports Director of Scouting Andrew Ivins:
A lanky second-level defender that can drop back into coverage and fill gaps. Size hasn’t been verified in a while, but looks to be over 6-foot-3 with some additional length in the arms. Will need to add some mass to a rather slender frame, but should be able to eventually carry 225 pounds or more. Totaled over 120 tackles as a junior playing in one of the Sunshine State’s higher classifications. Face-up tackler that likes to strike people and roll his hips through contact. Owns valuable experience as a blitzer and shows good snap anticipation whenever he gets the green light to crash the A or B gap. Hasn’t been asked to man-up with a lot of tight ends or slot receivers on Friday nights, but doesn’t struggle to gain depth with his backpedal and does a nice job of reading and reacting to what’s going on in front of him. Should be viewed as a developmental inside linebacker prospect with some upside that will likely need some time to get his body right before he’s ready to go on Saturdays. Ability to create negative plays is very encouraging, but must get better at changing gears if he wants to reach his full potential. Size and straight-line speed will get him on special teams units.
- Run game diagnosis and reaction
- Incredibly productive
- Powerful tackler
- Could benefit from gaining 10-15lbs
- Pass coverage
Note: changed this up from just a freshman-season outlook to a career outlook for each player a couple years ago and we’re continuing that style this year as well.
Miami has done very well recruiting linebackers in the last 2 classes. Even with that being the case, Hayes is the kind of talent that should quickly be able to work his way up near or at the top of the rotation.
As was the case with the blue chip LBs from the 2023 recruiting class, Hayes’s freshman year could (should?) be spent reworking his body, developing all areas of his game, and preparing him to be successful when his number is called down the line.
Hayes has all the physical ability and potential in the world. He could easily be a multi-year starter and all-conference level performer for Miami in his career. He probably has a higher floor than most, so at minimum, Hayes should be a rotation player off the bench. But, I find it hard to believe that, injuries aside, he ends up as a bust at Miami.
That’s it for this installment of The Recruiting Notebook.