Outside linebacker/running back Jerome Hayes is one of the top athletes in New Jersey and can just about have his pick of any college in the nation. Is he getting any closer to making a decision?
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound prospect from Bayonne, N.J. runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds and has offers from heavyweights such as Miami, Tennessee, Michigan, Penn State and others. But who are his leaders?
"Right now I'm really interested in four schools," he said. "Miami, Tennessee, Michigan State and Rutgers are the four I like most at the moment. That could change down the road, and I'm sure I'll add at least a couple more schools to that list if not more. But right now after looking over a lot of information, camping at some spots and talking to coaches I feel most comfortable with those four."
What is it about those schools that has attracted his interest?
"Mostly their interest in me," he said. "Rutgers is recruiting me real hard and telling me that I can come in and play right away. Miami has just a great college football program, and there's not much else to explain with them. I really like the Michigan State coaching staff and their commitment to being successful in the Big Ten. Tennessee is kind of like Miami, in that I like they'll be competing for national championships."
Hayes recently camped at Rutgers and Syracuse, and enjoyed both experiences. As a junior he rushed for 1,200 yards and eight scores while catches 12 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns. From his linebacker position he racked up 64 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and two sacks while recovering three fumbles.