Maurice Hayes is hopeful, very hopeful.
Thursday, the big defensive tackle from Bakersville, Calif Junior College by way of Lindale, Ga. told UGASports that Georgia coaches were looking over his transcript in hopes of establishing what he needs to be eligible to compete in the SEC.
The 6-foot-4, 315-pounder who prepped at Pepperell High has fingers crossed.
"They have to look at my transcript first, and they will let me know what I need to be eligible for the SEC before they offer. Hopefully they find out soon," Hayes said after his visit to Georgia Thursday. "If they were to extend an offer to me, the recruiting process might be completed. That is the home team, and compared to the other teams, my mom would love to be able to just come down here and see me play."
Hayes has visits planned for Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee and Oklahoma State, but made it clear that Georgia is his school of choice.
"I plan to be patient with UGA, I am willing to wait for the offer I want," he said. "I feel like I can come in and play right away, and I have 3 years to play 2. Just being able to just visit today was like a dream come true, but to have the chance to wear the red and black - that would be on a whole new level."
Hayes' day started at 10 a.m. when he met with offensive line coach Stacy Searels who immediately took his transcripts to admissions before starting a tour of the school.
Hayes said he was almost blown away.
"It is a nice campus. Very nice facilities, but when I got to meet and talk with Coach (Mark) Richt and he was talking about how the facilities were in the process of being upgraded," he said. "I already like the weight room, but they have plans to make it even better."
Later, Hayes met with defensive line coach Rodney Garner and several current players, including wide receiver Tavarres King, defensive tackle Kade Weston and wide receiver Mike Moore.
"They are all top notch guys, I felt like I have known them forever already, it is just that kind of atmosphere here," Hayes said. "When I got here, coaches I had not met yet were calling me by name. I guess they saw my film and liked what they saw. It made me feel like they want me there."
The fact that Bulldog coaches remind Hayes of those he played under in high school. He was also impressed by the way they ran Georgia's camp, which wrapped up its fourth day Thursday.
"They are all about helping the players get better, and you can see they really care, and these were not even players on a team," he said. "Some of these kids will not play a down in college, but you could not tell with the time and effort they got from the Georgia staff."
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