This is the 10th in a series of profiles on the top 15 players on The Detroit News Blue Chip list. Today: No. 6, Traverse City West tight end Ryan Hayes.
Ryan Hayes is a big man on campus and a man for all seasons at Traverse City West.
No, Hayes has not enrolled early like a half dozen of the other The News Blue Chip players to get a head start on his college career.
Instead, Hayes is busy playing basketball this winter before finishing his prep career with baseball in the spring.
Yes, Hayes plans to enjoy every day of his senior year before moving on to play tight end at Michigan.
Hayes played defensive end and tight end/receiver at 6-foot-7 and 255 pounds for Traverse City West, playing at a high level on both sides of the ball to earn a spot on The News Dream Team.
“I think it went pretty well, didn’t end well, but the season went well,” said Hayes of TC West’s 9-2 record and Big North league championship, including a 29-27 victory over rival Traverse City Central before a 17-14 district final loss to Central. “I felt like I improved a lot with my blocking. I got stronger, bigger and that helped a lot. I spent a lot of time in the weight room.”
TC West coach Tim Wooer was impressed with Hayes, saying: “He was an incredible player for us. Defensively, most teams ran away from him. He was long and athletic and used his arms really well for separation. In my 27 years of coaching, he was the best player in terms of creating matchup issues for defensive backs and linebackers.”
Wooer said Hayes is a carbon copy of former TC West lineman Jake Fisher, which should make Michigan fans excited for the future. After all, Fisher went on to become an All-American his senior year at Oregon in 2014 while helping the Ducks reach the inaugural College Football Playoff title game before being picked by the Bengals in the second round of the NFL draft.
Hayes comes from an athletic family with his father, Mike Hayes, playing football at Central Michigan in the late ’80s and his mother, Sue Nissen, the career scoring leader (1,938 points) at CMU before Crystal Bradford became the school’s first 2,000-point scorer in 2015.
And, don’t forget Ryan’s older brother, Connor, who was the state’s top-rated guard coming out of TC West before moving on to play at Pittsburgh.
Hayes enjoys playing tight end, a position he was recruited to play at Michigan.
“I like to play tight end the most,” Hayes said. “Michigan use them a lot. They love their tight ends there and it just seemed like a good fit.”
Hayes said making a TD catch against crosstown rival Traverse City Central was a highlight during his senior year. It was among a lot of several big plays.
Hayes picked Michigan over Notre Dame and Michigan State.
“I had a lot of offers and considered Michigan, Michigan State and Notre Dame the most,” Hayes said. “I just took some visits and I hadn’t been to Ann Arbor before, but when I took my visit I just fell in love with it and knew I wanted to go there. I took it spring break my junior year, had a lot of fun.”
Hayes is making the most of his senior year in basketball, averaging nearly 15 points and 10 rebounds.
And, Hayes has to be an intimidating sight for hitters due to his size (6-7) and his speed (85-88 miles-per-hour) while on the mound.
BLUE CHIP PROFILES