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Prospect Evaluation: 2024 LB Adarius Hayes

The all-around skills of linebacker Adarius Hayes make him one of the top overall 2024 football recruits in America.
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LARGO, Fla. - The days of long and tall inside linebackers are not completely over. Most of today’s linebackers are more closely resembling big safeties from the 1990s and early-to-mid 2000s. The 6’0”, 210-pound player that can really run. Well, the 210-pounds is about the same for the following recruit, but he’s much taller and even more athletic than most of the players that are now college inside linebackers.

Adarius Hayes

Adarius Hayes Linebacker Largo (Fla.) High School - 2024

Top 2024 LB prospect Adarius Hayes showed his talents during Thursday's practice.

Size: 6’4”, 215-pounds

Position: Middle Linebacker

High School: Largo (Fla.) High School

Class: 2024

Recruitment

It’s easier to ask which institutions have not offered Hayes. During practice on Thursday, May 12, that question was asked of Hayes. He mentioned Clemson, LSU and Oregon as being the only big name schools he could think of that had yet to offer. From coast to coast, this young man has been hammered by college coaches already.

He’s already visited some schools like UCF (multiple times), Notre Dame (spring game), and some others. He’s also getting ready to head to Alabama and Georgia very soon for unofficial visits. Later this year, Hayes plans to visit multiple college football programs for game day unofficial visits. As a player, seeing him run helps to explain why so many like his talents.

Frame

This is one of the longest inside linebackers one will find. He’s also very long at the hip, meaning his long legs help him chase down running backs and wide receivers in open space unlike many other players at his height. Hayes is still not necessarily completely done growing either. Who knows, he could end up at 6’5” or 6’6”. That means he could end up on the edge, which is just fine as well.

Adarius Hayes Linebacker Largo (Fla.) High School - 2024

Adarius Hayes still has plenty of room to add good weight to his frame.

Athleticism

The first category to note would be explosiveness. Hayes takes off with his first step. From a two-point stance, it’s really surprising to see how fast this young man is as he heads towards the ball carrier like with the following video:

Additionally, Hayes provides good lateral movement. That’s the difference between being a first down linebacker and an inside linebacker that can stay on the field during obvious passing downs. Hayes did a nice job of catching up to speedy slot receivers and running backs after that caught short passes.

Boom!

Hayes is a hitter. In fact, he only played part of the practice because his coach does not want him walloping his own teammates during practice. He was on the sidelines quite a bit. Good idea. When Hayes lowers the boom, it’s a violent hit. He’s naturally explosive through his hips, and it does not matter if he’s in space or coming downhill during an inside zone play to meet the running back, there will be a loud thud that’s about to take place.

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Personality

This is a young man that everyone enjoys being around. In today’s world of big-time prospects looking out for themselves, do note that Hayes was happy to be with his teammates during the entire practice and even asked for the following picture to be taken:

Adarius Hayes Linebacker Largo (Fla.) High School - 2024

Hayes and his Largo High School teammates.

Long-Term Potential

There’s really no telling just how good this young man can be. He’s naturally instinctive as a hitter, a football player in general, and Hayes provides the raw athleticism and frame to play multiple positions. Even if he stays at middle ‘backer long-term, he could be a blitzer off the edge during obvious passing downs. His length would be an excellent weapon against quarterbacks trying to throw over him, and he’s long enough to keep offensive tackles away from his body during a pass rush move.

Overall, if Hayes continues to finetune his skills, he can be as good as he desires. That’s up to him. It’s about the grind to become better from here forward. He has NFL ability. Now it’s just about seeing what he becomes. One thing is for sure, Hayes is a national top 25 prospect for the class of 2024, at the very least. There’s really no doubt about that after seeing Hayes during spring practice. He’s a special talent.

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