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Notre Dame Football

Scouting the Roster: Daelin Hayes

May 29, 2017
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Player name: Daelin Hayes

Player position: Drop (weakside defensive end)

Years of eligibility left: 3

Projected rank on the depth chart: Starter

Player productivity so far:

2016: 11 tackles 0 TFL/sacks 1 PBU 1 forced fumble

What player does best: Hayes is elite athlete that came in as a raw talent last season. He showed brief flashes of that talent as a freshman in his first full season of football since early in his high school career, but made huge strides this spring.

His athleticism is what makes him capable of making remarkable plays. He can squeeze down the zone read to his side and play both the quarterback and the running back.

He has a great first step and wins as a pass rusher with his quickness, but he’s added to his game. He’s a much stronger player versus the run that showed he can hold up against a tight end as a 7 technique and set the edge. His phenomenal change of direction skills allow him to be a factor in coverage as well. He is the rare edge player that can match up with tight ends and backs and not look overwhelmed.

What player needs to work on: Even though he took a big step forward this spring, he still has many things he needs to improve on. As a pass rusher he needs to work on his hands. He can dip and bend, but needs to establish more violence with his initial move and counters.

In the run game he has gotten better at recognizing blocks and fighting against pressure, but it’s not second nature to him yet. It’s getting there. He needs to reach a point where it’s instincts versus reaction.

Hayes is one of the individuals who had a significant body transformation under new strength and conditioning coach Matt Balis. He needs to continue to get stronger and plays stronger on the field.

Productivity of former ND players and top players in the nation at his position:

Romeo Okwara 2016: 49 tackles 13.5 TFL 9 sacks 1 forced fumble 7 QB hurries

Prince Shembo 2013: 48 tackles 5.5 TFL 5.5 sacks 1 forced fumble 17 hurries

Prince Shembo 2012: 51 tackles 10.5 TFL 7.5 sacks 1 PBU 12 QB hurries

Harold Landry Boston College: 51 tackles 22 TFL 16.5 sacks 4 PBU 1 INT 7 forced fumble 6 QB hurries

Porter Gustin USC: 68 tackles 13 TFL 5.5 sacks 4 PBU 1 QB hurry

Myles Garrett Texas A&M: 33 tackles 15 TFL 8.5 sacks 1 PBU 2 forced fumbles 10 QB hurries 1 blocked kick

Haason Reddick Temple: 65 tackles 22.5 TFL 10.5 sacks 3 PBU 1 INT 3 forced fumbles 3 QB hurries

T.J. Watt Wisconsin: 63 tackles 15.5 TFL 11.5 sacks 4 PBU 2 forced fumbles 13 QB hurries

Ryan Anderson Alabama: 61 tackles 19 TFL 9 sacks 3 PBU 1 INT 4 forced fumbles 10 QB hurries

Arden Key LSU: 56 tackles 14.5 TFL 12 sacks 3 PBU 3 forced fumbles 11 QB hurries

What can we hope for? Stephon Tuitt went from highly touted recruit that flashed as a part-time player as a freshman to a dominant force and All-American as a sophomore. That leap didn’t seem possible for Tuitt in 2012, but it happened. It could happen for Hayes this season.

He could develop into one of the top pass rushers in the nation and has the tools to put together a double digit sack season. Irish fans can hope that he develops into one of the top edge players in the nation by the end of the season that forces teams to double team him by November and makes everyone else on the defense better because of it.

What is a realistic expectation? It’s more realistic that Hayes won’t make that same kind of year to year jump that Tuitt did. More of a good, but not great, year is more likely.

There will be times where his talent is on full display and could lead to some multi-sack games. However, it’s reasonable to think he’ll go through some series and maybe a game or two where he isn’t as noticeable on the field.

Somewhere around 8 sacks and a dozen or so tackles for loss sounds about right for him. Less than that based on what we’ve seen from him this spring would be a disappointment because he has the talent to exceed those expectations.

What about the future? He has three years of eligibility left, but if he continues on the track that he’s on it has a chance to be reduced to two. That’s the kind of talent he has, but talent isn’t much without production.

His sophomore season is the first step towards production. When he’s going up against the top tackles in college football, is he someone that can beat them and force teams to double him? That’s where he needs to get to and he capable of getting there. He has the tools to end up as the best edge defender Notre Dame has had since Justin Tuck.
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