The spotlight may be on Tiqwai Hayes’ teammates in the class of 2024 right now, but he is someone whose time is coming sooner rather than later.
Hayes — a 6-foot-1, 190-pound four-star running back from Aliquippa High in Aliquippa in the class of 2025 — has narrowed down his list of offers to just eight: Cincinnati, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Pitt and West Virginia.
And as a kid who grew up not far from the likes of Pitt, Penn State and West Virginia, he’s visited all three multiple times over the last couple of years.
— ✊🏽tikey✊🏽 (@Tiqwaihayes) September 5, 2023
Pitt was the second school to officially extend Hayes an offer, right after Hayes helped lead the Quips to a PIAA title in his freshman season, and he’s made multiple visits to Pitt since.
“That’s a big offer and a really good school, and they’re right down the road,” Hayes told PSN after receiving the offer. “My family could come to every single game. Getting these first two offers are such a motivator for me. Knowing how much time left I have in high school and how much potential I have, I expect myself to keep moving forward and keep getting better.”
He made it out for Pitt’s Junior Day in 2022 and followed that up with a spring practice in March and Pitt’s home game against Georgia Tech in October. It will be important to get Hayes on campus as many times as possible over the next year and a half — which should be helped by Cameron Lindsey, a four-star Pitt commit in the class of 2024 and one of Hayes’ closest friends.
It’s not hard to see why Pitt’s coaching staff is extremely high on the explosive running back either.
Hayes, who was named a MaxPreps Freshman and Sophomore All-American over the last two seasons, racked up 224 carries for 2,011 yards and 34 touchdowns last season, adding five pass breakups, three interceptions and two pick-sixes.
And he’s started his junior off on the right foot with a 168-yard, 3-touchdown performance in a win over Armstrong High.
Rivals rates Hayes as the 217th-ranked recruit in the class (20th-ranked running back and fifth-ranked recruit from Pennsylvania). 247Sports rates him as the 340th-ranked recruit in the class (33rd-ranked running back and 11th-ranked recruit from Pennsylvania) while On3 rates him as the 351st-ranked recruit in the class (29th-ranked running back and 10th-ranked recruit from Pennsylvania).
Pitt does not currently have a commitment in the class of 2025, and Hayes will likely not make a decision any time soon, but he would be an elite addition to the class in any case.
With Israel Abanikanda coming off an electric 2022 season, being drafted by the New York Jets, and Rodney Hammond Jr. expected to break out this season, Pitt’s emphasis on running the football should be attractive to a powerful runner like Hayes.