The News-Sentinel sports staff will feature a different verbally committed player for the four NCAA Division I football programs (Ball State, Indiana Notre Dame and Purdue) in Indiana leading up to National Signing Day on Feb. 5.
Here is today's Notre Dame featured commit:
Position: Defensive tackle
High School: Poly Prep in Brooklyn, New York
Weight: 265 pounds
Commitment date: November 7, 2012
Other scholarship offers: 24, including Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Michigan and USC.
Ranking: Rated a four-star prospect by Rivals.com, the No. 3 player in the state of New York and the No. 228 player in the country; rated a four-star prospect by Scout.com and the No. 21 defensive tackle in the country.
Notre Dame depth chart at position: Sophomore Jarron Jones, sophomore Tony Springmann.
Scouting report: Hayes is without a doubt one of the most important recruits committed to the Irish so far in this cycle. With the departure of pure nose guard Louis Nix III and five technique Stephon Tuitt to the NFL, Notre Dame is hurting for an influx of interior D-line talent. Hayes will likely see himself in the rotation as a freshman along the defensive front, especially if he can add to his frame another 15-20 pounds between now and the fall. The uncertainty that is Springmann's status following his serious knee injury last season further complicates matters on the interior line. The Fighting Irish will likely move a body or two from the outside to the interior, so keep an eye on spring practice and any position changes in the front seven. Despite that, Coach Brian Kelly and new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder will need Hayes to grow up in a hurry when he arrives on campus this summer.