Blue Chip countdown: No. 4 Daelin Hayes

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Daelin Hayes gets a hug from his mother, Lakeshia Neal, after announcing his will attend Notre Dame in December.

The Detroit News continues its countdown of the top 15 Blue Chip recruits for 2016 with Daelin Hayes of Ann Arbor Skyline at No. 4.

Daelin Hayes has big dreams for himself at Notre Dame -- playing for the Irish and getting a first-class education.

No doubt, Hayes will get that education. The question is: Can he remain healthy to reach his goal of following in the footsteps of Jaylon Smith, who was named Butkus Award winner this past fall before deciding to pass up his final year at Notre Dame to enter the NFL draft.

Hayes was recruited by Irish coach Brian Kelly to eventually take over the hybrid defensive end / linebacker spot held by Smith. Now, the opportunity to take over that job is Hayes’ to lose.

But Hayes has been injury-prone. In the season opener of his sophomore year, playing for Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Hayes suffered a labrum injury and was sidelined him for the remainder of the year.

Hayes moved on to Ventura St. Bonaventure in California his junior year, but played just three games due to his parents’ custody battle, which eventually brought him back to Michigan.

Then, Hayes was injured again. This time it was his right shoulder in the third game of his senior year while playing for Ann Arbor Skyline. He had surgery to repair the damage in November.

No doubt, when Hayes is healthy, he is arguably as good as any player in the nation, using his physical style at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds with his 4.5 speed. He is rated a five-star recruit by (four-star by and helped Skyline end its 12-game losing streak in the season opener, followed by a 45-6 rout of Okemos in Week 2 before the injury against Division 1 power Saline.

“I’m great,” said Hayes of his health, adding he’ll be ready for spring ball. “First and foremost I want my degree and also have an exceptional football career, and for that to happen I have to work hard every day because nothing comes easy.”

Hayes enrolled early to Notre Dame, graduating from Skyline with a 3.6 GPA back in December. He plans to major in business.

Hayes originally committed to USC, but Steve Sarkisian was fired and Hayes soon decommitted, putting his focus on Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State before picking the Irish.

“I would have loved to play more (in high school), but the biggest message I could take from all of it is you can only control what you can control and that’s work ethic,” he said. “I feel that hard work will eventually pay off."


No. 4 Daelin Hayes, Ann Arbor Skyline (Notre Dame)

No. 5 Michael Onwenu, Detroit Cass Tech (Michigan)

No. 6 Desmond Fitzpatrick, Waterford Mott (undecided)

No. 7 Demetric Vance, Detroit Cass Tech (Michigan State)

No. 8 Michael Jordan, Plymouth (Ohio State)

No. 9 Cedrick Lattimore, Detroit East English (Iowa)

No. 10 Trishton Jackson, West Bloomfield (Michigan State)

No. 11 David Reese, Farmington (Florida)

No. 12 Brandon Randle, Battle Creek Central (Michigan State)

No. 13 Josh Jackson, Saline (Virginia Tech)

No. 14 Martell Pettaway, Detroit King (West Virginia)

No. 15 Brad Tanner, Romeo (Western Michigan)