Pine-Richland offensive lineman Harrison Hayes became the fifth member of the WPIAL’s Class of 2021 to commit to an FBS program as he made the decision to join Hugh Freeze and Liberty.
Hayes joins West Mifflin’s Nahki Johnson (Pitt), Peters Township Corban Hondru (Miami University) Union’s Aaron Gunn (Louisville) and Plum’s Evan Azzara (Miami University) as WPIAL players to commit in this class.
Over the last couple of months, the college interest in Hayes was increasing weekly as he received offers from programs such as Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Coastal Carolina, UConn, Kent State, Old Dominion, Toledo and a number of Ivy League programs.
While the attention and interest from these programs was flattering and appreciated, Hayes is glad to get his recruitment over with so that he can fully concentrate on improving and having a special season with the Pine-Richland football program.
“It’s definitely a relief because with the recruiting, it’s a lot of text messages and calls daily,” Hayes told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “I’ve kind of had my eye on Liberty for a while so having the ability to commit early was a huge blessing because I knew where I wanted to be and having my heart set on a school was great and helped with this a lot.
“The recruiting process can be overwhelming at times because at lot different people are trying to reach out to you, trying to talk to you, trying to pick your brain a little bit. It just got to the point where I wanted to commit and get it over with. But, I also want to say that it was nice having so many people interested in me and getting to know me as a person and not just as a football player. It’s part of my life that I’ll never get back so I’m glad I was able to go through it.”
This was the second player in the last couple years (Chase Mitchell of Washington) that has decided to join Liberty and for Hayes, it was an easy decision.
“My dad and I went up there a couple months ago and got the chance to spend a couple of hours with the offensive line coach by ourselves and talked with him,” said Hayes. “They showed us around and I just absolutely loved it and I was able to develop a great connection with the coaches. Without a doubt, it was the closest relationship that I was able to build among the college coaches I met.
“When I decided to commit, I called the offensive line coach, Coach Gregg and he was super excited. I was their first 2021 commit and he was super excited about that. He wanted to get me on the phone with the head coach and he was kind of at a loss for words.”
— Harrison Hayes (@hhayess55) November 20, 2019
As he did when announcing his decision on Twitter, Hayes wanted to make sure to thank and recognize the coaching staff at Pine-Richland for helping him get to this huge moment in his life.
“I wouldn’t be anywhere and getting this opportunity without Coach Sasson and Coach Kasperowicz. They’ve put so much time in with me,” Hayes said. “I want to get a huge shout out and thanks to all the coaches at Pine-Richland for helping me get to this point.”