One of the more vocal USC verbal commits in this class has been linebacker Daelin Hayes, who hasn’t been shy about expressing his strong pledge to the Trojans during the camp and combine season.
That hasn’t changed this week at The Opening, the football showcase hosted at Nike headquarters in Oregon where 166 of the top players in the country gather each summer to test themselves against the best. Whether it is throwing up the two-finger victory sign or spending time chatting with former USC defensive stars Willie McGinest and Chris Claiborne, who are serving as coaches for the event, Hayes is one player that won’t be making USC fans sweat out his decision as signing day approaches.
“To me, a commitment is like a marriage,” Hayes said. “You don’t tell your wife you’re going to look around. If I was going to commit, I was going to be all in and that was important to me. I’m bought in and I’m trying to recruit guys while I’m out here.”
Hayes is also spending his time at The Opening getting to know several of his fellow USC commits, some of whom he has interacted with at other camps.
“I’m rooming with [Josh] Imatorbhebhe, try saying that five times fast, and I roomed with Frank [Martin] at a camp earlier this summer. I’ve also been spending time with Melquise [Stovall] and Mique [Juarez], and I’m trying to recruit a few guys, I don’t want to give out too many names but I am trying to get a Michigan guy, Donovan Peoples-Jones. Having guys like Coach McGinest and Coach Claiborne is always a plus, especially with this linebacker group.”
With his choice of schools set, one thing that remains to be decided is which position Hayes will play when he gets to the college level. He has been known primarily as a linebacker to this point in his football career but it’s possible that he could grow out of the position, as he spent time at rush end during the recent USC Rising Stars Camp.
“I’ll play anywhere,” Hayes said. “When I committed I was 6-foot-2, 225 pounds, now I’m 6-foot-4, 248. Coach [Peter] Sirmon at USC told me he’s not going to put a position on me right now and at the Rising Stars Camp it was an opportunity for him to put me wherever he wanted me, and it happened to be rush end. Coming to this camp they put me at linebacker and I’m just going to do my thing.
“I committed to a school where I felt every day in practice is going to make me better and being able to be around the coaching staff at the Rising Stars Camp and seeing their coaching style was tremendous. I felt very comfortable with them. I was able to soak up a lot of knowledge working with them and I look forward to playing for them later on.”