When Lancaster (Texas) High School defensive backs coach Aaron Fletcher talks about defensive backs, he speaks from experience. Fletcher has coached a host of elite defensive backs in only the last couple of seasons and even has an NFL cornerback on his resume.
In the class of 2009, Lancaster produced Oklahoma commit Demontre Hurst and Minnesota commit Kerry Lewis, not to mention Northwestern State commit Phillip Harvey, all players that played in the same high school secondary. The 2010 edition of the Lancaster secondary has already seen Quentin Hayes commit to Oklahoma, Matt Thomas commit to Iowa State and cornerback Tyler Stephenson commit to Baylor.
Added to all of those names, Fletcher also coached Atlanta Falcons cornerback Chris Houston as a high school prospect. However, in the shadows of all that talent is a defensive back that Fletcher has been raving about all season long in Kendall Hayes.
"He's been my most dependable defensive back since Kerry [Lewis] and Demontre [Hurst]," Fletcher said. "I can't say enough about him. I would put him up there with all of the other guys I've coached."
Hayes picked up an offer early from Missouri but after holding off on committing, the Tigers filled up and no longer have room for him. Somehow after early commitments from his teammates in Hayes and Stephenson, attention has slowed during his senior season despite a great year.
"I think with those guys committing early it slowed down the traffic coming through the school," Fletcher said. "The bigger schools were full and I think he got caught in the middle of that. He played the rover position for us last year but he's started since his sophomore year.
"Everybody is recruiting him to play cornerback because he can run. He played safety here."
When a player of Hayes' ability has a surprisingly slow recruitment, college coaches often begin to look for red flags whether they be grades or off-the-field issues. Fletcher puts those questions to rest quickly.
"That's a kid right there that I'd let date my daughters," he said. "He's very dependable. He comes from a great family. It's just one of those things that he's gotten looked over."
Hayes hasn't been completely forgotten though. On Tuesday, he had an in-home visit from Kansas. Texas Tech has also been actively recruiting him in recent days and may be interested in an offer. This weekend Hayes has an official visit set up to Memphis to meet new head coach Larry Porter and his staff.
With late options opening up, the best prospect you've never heard of will certainly find a home.