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Pitt DE Dayon Hayes Confirms Return to Pitt for Final Season



Pitt defensive end Dayon Hayes.

On the same day that Samuel Okunlola entered the transfer portal, Pitt received a confirmation that its best defensive lineman will return in 2024.

Hayes, who announced after the win against Boston College that he had unfinished business at Pitt, officially confirmed that he will be returning to Pittsburgh for his final season of eligibility.

“I will return for my last year of eligibility,” Hayes wrote on Twitter. “Been a Pitt man. Always will be a Pitt man.”

It’s a massive return for Pitt in the wake of Okunlola entering the portal, along with Nate Temple, Deandre Jules, and Tyler Bentley, Devin Danielson and David Green exhausting their eligibility. Hayes will be tasked with leading an almost brand-new defensive line.

Hayes first announced his intentions to return to Pitt after a standout performance against Boston College last month.

He finished the night with six tackles (five solo), three tackles for loss, two sacks, two pass breakups and a quarterback hit — and it might just be the launchpad he needed for one more season. Does Hayes have unfinished business at Pitt?

“Yeah, I do,” he said with a grin. “I ain’t leaving yet.”

Pat Narduzzi and the defensive coaching staff will certainly welcome Hayes back next season, and he will be tasked with leading a defensive ends group that now only features Jimmy Scott and Bam Brima as an impact returner. What was supposed to be a position of strength has now turned into an area of uncertainty.

Hayes finished the 2023 season with 45 tackles (25 solo), 10.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, a forced fumble, four pass breakups and a lot of pressures, hurries and quarterback hits despite the relatively low sack totals. Hayes was better than his individual statistics indicated last season, and he should — hopefully — be able to capitalize upon his end-of-season success.

Pitt is currently slated to have Scott, Brima, Nahki Johnson and Maverick Gracio return alongside Hayes in 2024.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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2 months ago

Glad to have you back! First step is to rally your teammates, and prevent them from leaving. Become a true leader and prepare for the NFL.

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