Ken Hayes, of Toledo Whitmer, was the first player to publicly commit to Ohio State for the 2011 recruiting class. Hayes, 6-foot-5, 255-pounds, knew early on that Ohio State was the place he wanted to play college football, and he committed shortly after receiving his offer.
Hayes jump-started the 2011 recruiting class by committing to the Buckeyes on August 31, 2009, and the rest is history for this four-star defensive end prospect.
As a senior, Hayes helped lead Whitmer deep into the Ohio state playoffs, where they lost in the semi-final round to eventual state champion Lakewood St. Edward.
Hayes seems to be the picture-perfect, strong-side defensive end prospect for defensive coordinator Jim Heacock's scheme. Hayes seems to be a player very similar to Cameron Heyward, when Heyward was a freshman at Ohio State.
Hayes will battle for playing time in 2011, aided by the graduation of Heyward and the suspension of Solomon Thomas for the first five games.
"A big defensive end, Hayes is a candidate for the strong side or to move inside to defensive tackle. He overpowers most blockers put in front of him and easily handles double teams. He doesn't change directions as well as many of the speed rushers, but occupies blockers better than most of them as well. Is a long strider so makes up a lot of ground chasing from the backside and high effort gets him to a lot of plays," said Scott Kennedy, Scout.com.
Hayes on his future:
"I've always wanted to go to Ohio State, ever since I could remember," Hayes said of his early commitment. "I've had no second thoughts at all about committing that soon, because I'm all Buckeye, and always will be."
"As long as I've been following sports, I've thought about playing football for Ohio State," he stated. "Once I met Coach (Jim) Tressel, it made me want to go there even more. I think so much of all the Ohio State coaches, and they're all great guys."