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This Guy Plays Notre Dame Football: #9 Daelin Hayes

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Hoping to carry on the legacy of #9, Daelin Hayes looks to improve in 2018

NCAA Football: Southern California at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a roster full of players, and we want to talk about all of them. One Foot Down’s player profile series will take a look at every single one of them, and hopefully we all learn a little bit more about these guys, and Notre Dame’s chances for the upcoming 2018 season.

#9 Daelin Hayes

Hayes arrived at Notre Dame as a heralded recruit with sky-high expectations. He was pursued extremely heavily by the Irish staff - with Kelly and Co. even going so far as to employ Jaylon Smith as a student ambassador - and subsequently came to South Bend with the anticipation that he would one day be a defensive star; hopefully he would develop into a menace for opposing quarterbacks during his tenure with the Irish.

That hasn’t exactly happened yet. Hayes flashed last offseason, looking like a disruptive and potent component of the defensive line, but he never fully put it together during the regular season. He looked solid, but unspectacular - especially the latter during the second half of the season.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Boston College Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

If Notre Dame wants to improve upon a good but disappointing 2017, Hayes will almost surely need to progress as a player. And if he is looking for a future in the NFL, he’ll need to become what we all thought he could be when he first stepped on campus.

3 Things To Know About Daelin Hayes

  1. As mentioned above, Jaylon Smith played an integral part in bringing Daelin Hayes to Notre Dame. Hayes looked up to Smith, and they bonded well during his recruitment. That is why he wears same number as Smith, a tribute to his brother in Dallas and a hope to further the legacy of #9.
  2. He was rated as a 5-star by Rivals, furthering the idea of Hayes being a high-level contributor. Will he live up to that ranking?
  3. Hayes committed with a super awesome Dark Knight-themed video, see below:

Youtube Hot Fire

Country, Condiment, or Canon

Identifying the player as either a country, condiment, or member of the Star Wars Canon

Australia.

Daelin Hayes is definitely Australia. If you think about Australia, it’s fantastic in theory. You’ve got beautiful beaches around the country, fauna found nowhere else on the planet, a strong government in place, and a solid economy. It all sounds like a recipe for success on paper. But - it’s a bit rough around the edges.

First and foremost, there are a bunch of scary things in Australia. Deadly, venomous snakes, spiders, and other creepy crawlies are more prominent in Australia than anywhere else in the world. The outback is harsh and unforgiving. The waters of ‘Stralia are home to Great White Sharks and Saltwater Crocodiles. So, it’s not perfect.

What I’m getting at here is this: Daelin Hayes looks great, but can still improve overall. At this juncture, he’s an appealing piece along that defensive line. However, he is not the dominant force that he potentially could be. It’s that growth that we’re looking for.

2018 Forecast

I tend to be fairly optimistic when it comes to looking forward with the Irish. That trend will continue here.

Daelin Hayes just has too much talent to be relegated to the same role and production as he was in 2017. While 2017 wasn’t necessarily a failure for the defensive end, it was most assuredly not a success. It could have been significantly better than it was for Hayes.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

In 2018, he will not just suddenly become a Myles Garrett-esque impact defensive lineman. That’s an unfair expectation to put on anyone. But Daelin Hayes can grow into a lineman a tier below Garrett. It may not be an immediate jump, and it may not be a linear one. But Hayes will become a reliable drop end that will improve enough to ensure a Day 1 or Day 2 pick in the draft whenever he declares, barring an unfortunate injury. That growth begins in 2018.

I anticipate him to improve upon all totals in 2018, from tackles, to tackles for loss, to sacks. It will be a year that leaves Notre Dame fans feeling pretty good about their former 5-star defensive lineman.