Playing football is a choice. For defensive tackle Allan Haye, the 2021 Miami commit from Hollywood (Fl.) Chaminade-Madonna, the choice was assisted by an unknown voice.
After listening to this voice, Haye, a multi-sport athlete, decided to take his path to play football.
“At first, I started off playing soccer in middle school,” Haye said. “In eighth grade I started basketball, and in ninth grade I started JV basketball.
“I asked God what sport should I play? Then three days later a random man walked up to me and my mom at a gas station and said that I should play football for American Heritage. He wasn’t a coach, but he has connections with the school. I felt like that was my sign to play football.”
Haye will be one of four UM commitments in action at 7 p.m. tonight when Chaminade-Madonna takes on Plantation (Fl.) American Heritage in a huge battle.
Chaminade also features running back Thad Franklin, a 2021 commitment, and defensive end Jamaal Johnson, a 2022 commitment.
Haye started playing soccer mostly because of his parents’ influence. His mother played soccer for the Jamaican National Team and his father ran track and coached soccer.
When Haye heard the voice at the gas station, American Heritage was in the midst of a back-to-back state title run led by cornerback Patrick Surtain Jr., who now plays at Alabama and is a potential first-round NFL draft pick, and current UM defensive tackle Nesta Jade Silvera.
Haye, also known as “Big Jolly,” started his high school career at Coconut Creek. He quit basketball before his sophomore year to focus on football despite training with the varsity basketball team that summer.
“I had a good season (playing football) at Coconut Creek,” said the 6-2, 310-pound Haye. “But I had to change my environment and go somewhere where everyone on the team wants to go to college.
“At first, I didn’t even like football, but I got better at it. I didn’t even know what a defensive tackle was so I went and put defensive tackle highlights (in the search) on YouTube and the first name that popped up was Nesta Silvera. That’s how I learned how to be a better player, watching him play. I go to YouTube for everything.”
By the way, the voice that Haye heard at the gas station was Berry Lamy, a real estate agent in Broward County. Haye now works for Lamy at his real estate office and Lamy serves as a mentor for Haye. Lamy introduced Haye to one of the coaches at Heritage. Haye eventually had a choice to make between Chaminade and Davie (Fl.) University School.
“I tried to figure out what school would really be like family because at (Coconut) Creek it’s family, so I didn’t go away from that,” he said.
Haye, who got his “Big Jolly” nickname from former teammate Kristoff Polles, who is now at FIU, refers to Franklin and Johnson, his Chaminade teammates and fellow UM commits, as brothers.
It’s the type of family relationship that Haye also has with his future defensive line coach, Todd Stroud. Haye said regardless of how UM’s 2020 turns out he remains committed to the Hurricanes.
“Coach Stroud shows he cares all the time,” Haye said. “He’s always checking in on me and we go over things. I could have gone to any Florida school and I don’t really care too much about what they (Miami) do. It’s all about what we do when I get there.”