The Pitt football staff and in particular, head coach Pat Narduzzi, have made no secret of their desire to land Westinghouse star defensive end Dayon Hayes.
That mission was accomplished Saturday night when Hayes made a commitment to his hometown school.
Hayes is a consensus three-star recruit but many talent evaluators that have spoken with Pittsburgh Sports Now believe he has star potential and would be a high four-star recruit if he played for a higher profile high school. He is rated as PSN‘s top local recruit in the Class of 2020.
Despite having the opportunity to play for some major programs like Ohio State, Penn State and Texas A&M, Hayes stayed true to his initial feelings of wanting to represent and star for Pitt, his hometown school.
I want to thank my family, coaches, teammates, and everyone who played a part in the most important decision of my life! Thanks @duzz for welcoming me to the family @CoachPartridge @coachcsanders #H2P pic.twitter.com/eSVeUpaSDJ
— DayonHayes (@HayesDayon) June 23, 2019
Hayes believes that we’re entering a special time for Pitt football and yesterday’s record day of recruiting was just the beginning.
“What happened today was surreal, man,” Hayes said to PSN after his commitment. “I just wanted to go to Pitt because it is and just felt like home to me. I just felt like Pitt was more family than anyone, it felt like a special and it wasn’t like an organization. In the end, I picked family over an organization.”
Some didn’t believe that Hayes would commit so soon and would wait and take other official visits. That didn’t happen, as he committed to Narduzzi at the end of his visit.
“Man, he was surprised but real happy,” Hayes said. “I was playing it off and acting like I wasn’t gonna commit today but at the end I did and told him I’m 100% committed. When I told him he was jumping up and down. Crazy man.”
Narduzzi and Pitt didn’t just offer Hayes a scholarship, they heavily pursued him and that’s something that played a factor in his final decision.
— Charlie Partridge (@CoachPartridge) June 17, 2019
“That meant a lot to me,” Hayes said. “It meant and showed me that they wanted me the most. I just felt like they wanted and needed me the most.”
Now that Hayes is going to stay home to play, his biggest goal and mission now is to make all the rest of the top end local talent do the same. Three 2021 local recruits that Pitt are currently prioritizing are Nakia Johnson, Dorien Ford and Derrick Davis.
“That’s what I’m doing right now,” said Hayes. “I’m trying to get all of them. We’re all gonna stay home.
“Something special is going on. The Pitt program has so much energy right now. It’s so overwhelming and just has me feeling like something big is about to happen. A lot of good things around happening now at Pitt and everyone that’s around it. Everything is changing and I can see that and I couldn’t pass that up.”