Three years ago, Georgia decided it needed a couple of instant impact lineman.
That's when the Bulldogs signed three junior college players out of Georgia Military College in defensive lineman Corvey Irvin, Jarius Wynn, and offensive lineman Vince Vance. Irvin and Wynn were taken in the 2009 NFL draft last month, and now it seems the Bulldogs may tap into the junior college ranks yet again.
UGASports confirmed earlier this week that Georgia has begun recruiting Bakersfield College defensive tackle Maurice Hayes. The former Peach State standout says his recruitment has really grown since he came out to the west coast, and so has his size.
"My coach at Pepperell made some calls, he got in touch with the guys out here, and here I am at Bakersfield," Hayes told UGASports. "The only school I remember showing interest out of high school was Jacksonville State, when I was 6-foot-3, 295-pounds."
Hayes mentioned that schools like Tennessee, Nebraska, and Alabama have inquired about the now 6-foot-4, 315-pound inside presence. But for now, two schools have been on him the hardest.
"Oklahoma State and Georgia have shown the most interest," Hayes said. "Oklahoma State has already offered, and Georgia could as well."
The Renegades had a rough year, but that did not stop Hayes from being named one of the best in his conference.
"My team was 4-6, but I did make 1st team ASCFA at defensive tackle. In nine games, I had 27 tackles 6.5 for loss, 2.5 sacks and 1 quarterback hurry," said Hayes.
The Lindale native has three schools on top right now, but admits there is one that he has had on his mind for a long time.
"I like Georgia, Oklahoma State and Alabama the most," he said. "I grew up a Bulldog fan, and when I was there on a recruiting trip, I fell in love with it. The atmosphere was the best, and I can see myself playing down there."
The chance to play for his friends and family again is something Hayes says he has thought of quite often.
"It would be great to come back and play for the Bulldogs," he said.
With his size, most would expect a prospect like Hayes to simply take on blockers and allow the linebackers to make plays. And while he says that is his biggest asset, Hayes brings more to the table than just weight.
"I am a guy who can clog up the holes, but also rush the passer.
I feel that I have great footwork, and I am very quick off the ball for my size. I try to not only play hard, but also play smart as well," says Hayes.
Claiming one offer from the Cowboys at the moment, Hayes is confident that more are on the way. But if the Bulldogs are not one of them, the Bakersfield standout knows he will be playing somewhere next fall.
"I will just keep talking to the coaches, play this season, and see what options I have after the season is over. I will be an early graduate in December and then I will head off to play division one football," said Hayes.
Alabama struck gold last year when Gulf Coast Community College defensive tackle Terrence Cody became one of the biggest impact lineman in the entire country. Now schools may feel that Hayes could be the next to come in and help fortify the defense. While all of the recent attention is a shock to the All-Conference freshman, he knows he will have to approach his recruitment with a level head.
"I did not expect any of this to be possible. But I have to remember to stay humble regardless, because what I have can be taken away at any time," said Hayes. "I want to be able to come and fit right in, and I want a nice community with great academics."
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