Big, strong, athletic and tough — these are the type of offensive lineman Jim Harbaugh is trying to bring to Ann Arbor.
After the commitment of four-star Jalen Mayfield Tuesday, Michigan earned the commitment of another top in-state offensive lineman Saturday.
The Wolverines fought off Notre Dame and Michigan State to land four-star offensive tackle Ryan Hayes over the weekend. The 6-foot-7, 252-pound prospect from Traverse City is ranked as the nation’s No. 10 offensive tackle and No. 102 recruit, according to 247Sports.
Hayes, who could also play tight end at the next level, was long thought of as a lock to Michigan, but most did not see him committing so soon.
Here is what Hayes brings to the Maize and Blue:
Strengths: Like Mayfield, versatility is the name of the game for Hayes. The giant lineman also contributes at tight end, defensive end and even punted at times during his junior season at Traverse City West High School.
Hayes dominates his opponent right off the snap with a quick burst and good use of hands. He then drives them back and doesn’t quit until the play is over. While very solid in pass protection, he excels in the running game, locking down the right side for running backs to get to the edge.
At tight end, Hayes uses his big body to get in front of linebackers in the slot and boxes them out to secure the ball with his reliable hands. His route running at tight end did not seem very complex, but he was efficient nonetheless.
Hayes is also a baseball star for TCWHS and will be able to play both sports at Michigan, according to 247Sports. His versatility certainly has Harbaugh drooling.
Weaknesses: These were hard to find when watching tape on Hayes because his level of competition isn’t strong. However, there are things Hayes could work on his senior year and at the college level.
I love how Hayes gets his hands out front on his defender, but he often holds his opponent rather than throwing a consistent jab. With his high motor, he also gets so focused on his defender he drives them down field and misses other defenders he could take out in the process — something Mayfield does very well.
At tight end, Hayes could work on his route running. He also doesn’t break as many tackles as one would like for being a huge weapon. However, it is impressive that he can play two unique positions at a high level. He is highly rated for a reason.
Player that he could turn into: This is going to seem like a strange comparison, but I think Hayes strongly resembles former Michigan tight end A.J. Williams. Most remember Williams for his excellent blocking on the edge, but he was also a consistent threat in the passing game.
While I believe Hayes is a better lineman, he could play a similar role to keep defenses on their toes.
Hayes’ commitment most likely means the end of Michigan’s offensive line haul this class with Mayfield and Emil Ekiyor also in the fold. With the Wolverines’ past two offensive line classes, I think Michigan will soon have one of the best lines in college football.