Every high school prospect has dreamed of playing in the NFL one day. Most of them don't realize the kind of hard work it takes to make it to that level though. 2012 RB Blake Hayes is getting the opportunity to go through a workout regimen with a former NFL running back to elevate his game to new heights.
"I'm working out with Brandon Bennett every Sunday."
Bennett was an all-state player at Riverside High School and starred at South Carolina before a solid career in the NFL for teams like Cincinnati and Carolina. Hayes talked about what the experience of working with a former pro has been like so far.
It's going good he helps me with anything I feel I need to improve to be a better running back. It's been very good and I am very thankful that he is helping me with my game. He just said take your game and you will make it. Brandon wants me to be able to slow down but be able to get that speed cut into a sprint."
Hayes has been an avid camper this off season and he shared with us some of the stops he's made so far and plans for the future.
"I've been to the VTO camp and the Nike camp. I just got back from the USA vs The World tryouts this weekend in Georgia."
Hayes says his game has improved in two major areas since the end of his junior season.
"My speed has improved this off season and also just knowing where the defense is going to go before the next play starts. The work I've put in with my speed coach and Brandon has helped me a lot."
As one of the state's top backs it's been tough for Hayes to see other prospects he's outperformed during the season and at camps in the off season grab early offers but the 5'10 200 pound back is using that as motivation he says.
"Yes it makes me work a lot harder then some Athletes who have offers."
We always ask prospects who's the toughest player they've faced and in the past year the name that gets mentioned the most is Blake Hayes. We informed Hayes about the respect that he has of his opponents and he talked about it.
"Yeah I like to hear that because it makes me work even hard because I want to be the best player they faced."
Asked about where his recruitment stands currently and what schools he's hearing from the most he replied, "I'm hearing from Clemson North Carolina State, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Appalachian State, and Presbyterian."
Which of those schools is pressing him the hardest right now?
"Clemson is right now."
Will the school that offers Hayes his first scholarship get extra consideration being the first program to extend him an offer?
"Yes it will. It will mean a lot to me."
We asked Hayes to talk briefly about some of the schools in the mix as of late.
NC State: I like how much the coaches have talked to me.
South Carolina: I really liked how the practiced.
Alabama: I like how they run the ball.
Tennessee: I like their offense.
Hayes says the plan for this off season is to try and visit every school that's in the mix to see where I would like to go. He plans on camping with every program if time allows it. He's also set the bar high for his team next year as well as some lofty personal goals too.
"I want to break my school's record, become an All-American, and most importantly win a state championship."
So we asked Hayes if he had to name a current top 5 which schools would comprise his list?
"In no specific order Clemson, Georgia Tech, NC State, Tennessee, and Appalachian State."