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23 MINUS 7 DAYS TO 2019 KICKOFF: Marcus Hayes

In which BracketCat counts down the 16th day until the 2019 kickoff with a profile of defensive back Marcus Hayes.

#23 Cre Moore
Cre Moore’s (23) graduation opened up both his jersey number and a defensive back position for Marcus Hayes.
Photo by Adam Bow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

#23 Marcus Hayes

Redshirt Sophomore | 5-11 | 201 lbs. | Rockford, Illinois
Marcus Hayes
Marcus Hayes
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Defensive Back
  • Previous College: New Mexico
  • Projection: Second-String
  • Status: On Scholarship

Marcus Anthony Hayes (b. May 8, 1999) is a defensive back who transferred in from New Mexico and will have to sit out the 2019 season. He is majoring in business administration.

Hayes, a defensive back signee in the Wildcats’ 2019 class, had petitioned the NCAA for a waiver to be eligible to play immediately. While the denial wasn’t unexpected, it still leaves K-State without a player who could have contributed on defense and special teams.

Hayes redshirted in 2017 in Albuquerque and played in 12 games in 2018, with nine starts, while he served as the team’s primary punt returner en route to Freshman All-American honors from the Football Writers Association of America and second-team All-Mountain West Conference accolades.

He finished seventh on the team with 51 tackles to go along with 1.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions and five pass breakups, and also forced a fumble and recovered a fumble.

Hayes had a career-high 10 tackles at Wisconsin, while he had eight at Colorado State and seven against both Fresno State and Wyoming.

Both picks came against New Mexico State, including one he returned 60 yards for a touchdown en route to both Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week and Hornung Award Honor Roll accolades.

Hayes returned 15 punts for a 21.2-yard average, which included an 86-yard return touchdown against Boise State. His return against the Broncos tied for the longest in school history and also tied for the fifth longest in the nation prior to the bowl season.

Hayes also finished first nationally in punt-return average prior to the bowl season.

He played at Rockford High School East under head coach Gary Griffin and recorded 85 tackles as a senior with four tackles for a loss and five interceptions, adding three passes defended, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Hayes totaled eight interceptions during his career, while he added four punt-return touchdowns and also played on offense, where he scored 28 touchdowns in three seasons, including 12 receiving touchdowns as a junior, when he caught 37 passes for 725 yards.

Hayes earned all-state honors as both a junior and senior during his prep career.