Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Tuesday

April 30, 2013

Traverse City West's Hayes commits to Pitt

TRAVERSE CITY — Connor Hayes found what he thinks is a perfect fit.

The Traverse City West junior offensive guard committed Monday to play for the University of Pittsburgh, becoming the first commit to the school's 2014 recruiting class.

"It's a big relief," Hayes said of getting the recruiting process done before his Titans senior season started. "I didn't want to wait too long and didn't want to weigh my options any longer. It just felt like such a right choice that I didn't feel the need to wait much longer."

The Panthers turned the program over to former Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, who is bringing the Badgers' power running game to Pitt.

The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Hayes and his powerful drive blocking seem like a perfect fit.

"I just really felt I fit in best there," Hayes said. "Their program, what they're trying to do there, their offense. I felt really comfortable with their coaches. Just all around, it felt like it was the place for me."

Hayes said coaches told him he could be in the mix for playing time after likely redshirting next season. Pitt has 10 offensive linemen returning from last year's 6-7 team, and the top four guards on the spring two-deep depth chart are all juniors and seniors.

"They're a blue-collar type of football team," Hayes said. "It's going to be more of a running offense, rather than the spread, which a lot of teams are going to. And a lot of pulling with the offensive linemen. That's a lot of what I do and what I'm best at. It'll be very fun to play for a power offense."

He could play some center at Pitt — a position he has practiced at West, but never played in game action.

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