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Kansas State Football Recruiting: Introducing DeMarrquese Hayes

Klieman keeps them coming from the Lone Star State.

#53 Blake Slaughter

DeMarrquese Hays, a 6’1, 190 pound, 247 composite 3-star (84) outside linebacker out of La Vega in Waco, Texas verbally committed to Kansas State on June 7th.

Hayes committed to the Wildcats over listed offers from Houston and numerous other Group of 5 schools. He was an integral part of La Vega’s 2018 Texas 4A Division I football state championship squad, and La Vega’s 2019 4A Track state champion team.

What Does Hayes Bring to the Table?

This is going to sound familiar, but Hayes is fast. I’m talking super fast. He claims a 4.46 40 yard dash and ran the opening leg for La Vega’s gold winning 4x100 relay squad. That’s exceptional for a linebacker, or pretty much any human being.

In the current Big12 world of air raid offenses, this is the sort of 3 down linebacker you need on the field. I’m going to with another Clemson comparison and say that Hayes reminds me of Olathe Kansas’s own Isaiah Simmons (who, looking at his offer list, didn’t have a listed offer from Kansas State and that alone should have got someone fired). Simmons plays the hybrid SAM / nickel linebacker in Brent Venables base 4-2-5 and will be a first round draft pick in 2020.

Hayes is fast and athletic enough to cover a tight end but physical enough to get after the quarterback and get a running back on the ground. His closing speed is exceptional and he is a terror off the edge when sent on the blitz.

At 6’1, 190 he has some filling out to do before he sees the field because right now he’s built more like a corner than a linebacker, but once he fills out, he could be a weapon for the Wildcat defense. He’s got plenty of time to get bigger and stronger, while hopefully maintaining his speed. If he can hit the field at 215 with 4.5 speed, Kansas State has found a gem in Baylor’s back yard.

What Does This Mean for K-State Recruiting?

What I hope it means is that the Wildcats are looking to play some version of the 4-2-5. I watch way too much football, and for my money, the 4-2-5 is the best defense to slow down the modern spread offenses.

The key to the 4-2-5 is the SAM linebacker/safety. It’s a hybrid position that allows a defense to be strong against the run, while at the same time keeping a defender on the field that can hold up in coverage.

What most high paced spread offenses (think Oklahoma) want to do is trap your base defense on the field. If you line up in a base 4-3-4, they want to trap a slower linebacker on the field and throw it against a 7 man front. If you line up in a traditional base 4-2-5 with a corner playing nickel they want to trap the small defender on the field and run it a 6 man front.

Having a player like Hayes that allows you essentially transition between a 4-3-4 and a 4-2-5 without having to substitute prevents the other team trapping mismatched personnel on the field. It keeps an offense designed to create a mismatch, from creating a mismatch.

In terms of linebacker recruiting, Hayes joins fellow Texan Jay Harris (and possibly Nate Matlack) in the 2020 class. Hayes and Harris should give the defense an immediate upgrade in speed at the linebacker position. These two guys are a little light at the moment but make up for it with their ability to close on the ball and hold up in coverage.

What’s Next?

The commitments keep flowing, as JoJo “Spider” Wilson, a 3-star, 6’1, 180 pound corner out of Houston committed to the Wildcats yesterday. I’ll have more on JoJo next week.