Class of 2016 linebacker Daelin Hayes was one of the most impressive prospects in any class this off-season, and now he is taking his talents to a new high school to finish out his prep career.
Formerly of Orchard Lake St. Mary's in Michigan, Hayes officially enrolled at St. Bonaventure in Ventura, Calif., last week.
"My mom got a new job and she thought that was the best move for the family," Hayes said. "So far it has been great. Was I nervous? Absolutely, but I find comfort in putting my faith in God. I took a leap of faith and trust that He is going to put me in the best situation possible."
The move puts Hayes closer to his future college home after the four-star linebacker committed to USC three weeks ago during his first visit to the campus. Discussions of the family moving to California preceded that visit, and helped convince Hayes USC was the right school for him.
"She had the job offer before we even went out there. It just all kind of fell into place," Hayes said. "When we went out to California I fell in love with it and obviously committed."
Attending St. Bonaventure puts Hayes alongside another future Trojan, class of 2015 quarterback commit Ricky Town.
"Of course I am excited to play with Ricky this year," Hayes said. "In practice he just does things that are not normal for a high school quarterback. We make each other better during practice, and it's fun."
Hayes and Town knew each other prior to the transfer, and that relationship has helped the rising junior acclimate quickly to his new team.
"As soon as I got here the team was very close. They all welcomed me with open arms," Hayes said. "Everyone wanted to know, 'is this guy going to come in like a prima donna?' But they found out I am a blue-collar guy who's ready to work."
Hayes missed the majority of his sophomore season at St. Mary's with a shoulder injury, but was a two-way player for the Eaglets. This fall he expects to play some running back and tight end on offense for St. Bonaventure, but will primarily focus on linebacker where he could line up at the WILL or JACK positions in their 3-4 defense.
As for his commitment to USC, Hayes continues to feel it was the right choice and now that he lives closer to campus he will be able to familiarize himself more with the program.
"When people talk about Linebacker U., they always talk about a Penn State, but as far as production the last few years at linebacker, USC has put out dozens," Hayes said. "They have a new coaching staff, I love the area and it is a private school so education-wise you know you are getting the top and that's always been my main focus. I just felt it was all-in-all a great school and I am more than satisfied with my decision.
"I know a lot of the fans, when I committed, thought this would be a commitment to watch because I was on the other side of the country, but I am here now. I am building a close relationship with my college coaches and having Ricky on my team all the time as a USC commit is great. We'll be used to playing with each other once we get up there."
Hayes plans to attend a USC practice on Sunday. In the initial 2016 class rankings he starts out at No. 17 in the Rivals100.