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Trieu: Hayes, Mayfield could be homegrown bookend tackles for Michigan

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News
Ryan Hayes

The last time Michigan had a pair of homegrown bookend offensive tackles, it was Detroit native Maurice Williams and Midland’s Jeff Backus, both of whom would become early-round NFL draft picks, Williams going in the second and Backus in the first.

With the commitment of Traverse City West’s Ryan Hayes on Saturday, that might happen again soon as he now joins Grand Rapids Catholic Central’s Jalen Mayfield, who committed the Tuesday prior. That gives Michigan a pair of in-state tackles, both rated four-star prospects by Scout who had a good list of other schools pursuing them.

Hayes, a high school tight end, held offers from Notre Dame, Michigan State, Northwestern, California and more.

With both him and Mayfield, the turning point in their recruitments, as far as Michigan’s involvement, was the hiring of Greg Frey as tackles and tight ends coach. Michigan offered Hayes a scholarship shortly after Frey’s addition and he held a previous relationship with the Hayes family as he was among the first coaches to offer his older brother Connor Hayes, a highly-recruited lineman who signed with Pittsburgh in the 2014 class.

"He recruited Connor at Indiana,” Ryan said. “He and my family have a really good relationship."

Frey also recruited Jake Fisher, another standout Traverse City West lineman who was verbally committed to Michigan during his recruitment, but re-opened when Rich Rodriguez was let go and signed with Oregon. Hence, he had a relationship with Titans head coach Tim Wooer, as well.

Wooer believes Hayes compares well to Fisher, who is now with the Cincinnati Bengals.

“I think these two kids are carbon copies of one another,” Wooer said. “Jake was a tight end / defensive end in high school and Jake was a two-sport athlete. Ryan is a three-sport athlete. He is the No. 1 pitcher on our baseball team, throwing 85-88. He is a 15 (point) and 10 (rebound) guy in basketball. He is just a great athlete.”

Hayes stands 6-foot-7 and is 250 pounds right now, but having played basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring, the thought is that he will easily be able to add the weight necessary to play offensive tackle in the Big Ten. Frey has had success developing similar players at both Michigan and Indiana, the most similar being Jason Spriggs, another high school tight end who became an all-conference tackle and NFL draft choice.

With Michigan’s frequent use of the tight end and emphasis on the running game, having Hayes play some tight end is not out of the question either.

“I think he is talented enough to play tight end (in college),” said Wooer.  “He is not going to take the top off the defense, but he is an incredible target. He has got good range, good hands, is athletic, and he would be one heck of a run-blocker in the heavy sets, which they use. But by the same token he would be an excellent left tackle down the road.  He is going to be able to do whatever Michigan wants him to do.”

Michigan may be recruiting nationally, but now have three big commits from inside the state in this 2018 class in 6-foot-5 Jalen Mayfield, 6-foot-6 Aidan Hutchinson and now 6-foot-7 Ryan Hayes, who should team with Mayfield to give the Wolverines two young offensive tackles with prototypical frames and athletic ability.

Hayes may also play baseball at Michigan, something the Wolverine football staff has said they would not prevent.

Indiana defensive end offered

George Karlaftis, a class of 2019 defensive end from West Lafayette (Ind.), was offered a scholarship by Michigan last week.

Karlaftis (6-4, 245 pounds) holds additional offers from Notre Dame, Indiana, Penn State, Purdue and more. He has not been to Michigan yet, but hopes to schedule a visit in the near future.

A varsity starter since his freshman season, he finished his sophomore season with 113 tackles and 13 sacks.

Summer camps set to begin

June is always an important month in the recruiting world as colleges hold prospect camps, which lead to new offers and sometimes commitments.

Michigan will begin its camp season on Friday when the Wolverines will be guest coaches at John Carroll University’s “Light up the Land” camp.

JCU head coach Rick Finotti spent two years on Jim Harbaugh’s staff at Michigan, first as director of football operations and then as a defensive analyst.

Michigan will host a specialists camp in Ann Arbor on Saturday, and will be guest coaches at Valdosta State and Florida Atlantic on Sunday and Monday.

More information

Ryan Hayes profile

Jalen Mayfield profile

George Karlaftis profile

Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.