USC had not been much of a player in Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary's 2016 linebacker Daelin Hayes' recruitment before a visit to Southern California this week resulted in his commitment.
"It wasn't exactly planned, but over the last few days it became completely apparent to me," Hayes said.
Hayes flew out to California on Wednesday and spent parts of Thursday, Friday and Saturday on campus. Before Saturday was over he had relayed his commitment to the USC staff.
"The trip was flat-out amazing from start to finish," Hayes said. "It's overwhelming with the great things to do, great people to meet. I love this school and am fully committed."
Hayes went into the visit without an offer from the Trojans. He held more than a dozen offers from schools and had even named Michigan, Michigan State, Tennessee and Wisconsin as favorites back in April. The last three days with the USC community, however, convinced the highly-touted rising junior USC was the place for him.
"The most impressive thing aside from the sight-seeing was the genuineness of the coaching staff," Hayes said. "I feel as if it's a family atmosphere and I'm comfortable with them."
One of the reasons Hayes had not visited USC previously was because of the distance from his southeast Michigan home to southern California. When it came time to decide on his college future, however, location was not a concern.
"Distance isn't a problem at all," Hayes said. "I'm not one to get home sick."
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Hayes has played running back and linebacker in his career, but will play on the defensive side of the football in college. He earned linebacker MVP honors at the Rivals250 Underclassmen Challenge presented by Under Armour earlier this month in Jacksonville, Fla.