Prep Football: Garrard County's Markell Hayes will play college football at Morehead
Markell Hayes (April 11, 2012)
The Garrard County running back-linebacker recently committed to play for Morehead State, and he plans to make that official in a signing ceremony Thursday at his school. After that, he’ll be counting the days until the start of Morehead’s summer camp and the start of the next phase of his football life.
“I’m really excited to get out of high school so I¿can go ahead,” Hayes said Tuesday. “I’m ready for football season right now. I want to get my work done here and be ready to go.”
A handful of schools were interested in Hayes, who said he made up his mind after visiting Morehead shortly before spring break.
“When I went there, I felt a good vibe about it,” he said.
Hayes said he’s happy with his decision, and Garrard coach Mark Scenters said Morehead’s coaches, who recruited Hayes as a defensive back, are happy, too.
“They jumped on him,”¿Scenters said. “They were really happy that he was still available.”
Scenters said Morehead’s coaches liked what they saw of Hayes on video and when they saw him in person at the National Guard Border Bowl all-star game in January.
Hayes said his meeting with head coach Matt Ballard and defensive backs coach Paul Humphries during his visit last month was productive. He said he likes the fact that he’ll have the chance to play right away and that there’s an emphasis on academics there as well.
“They’re not going to let you slip on your work,”¿he said.
Scenters said he thinks Hayes will be successful on and off the field.
“I think he’ll be very successful there,”¿the Garrard coach said. “Something I’m really proud of Markell (for) is he’s really buckled down in the classroom and done a much better job the last eight months or so. He’ll have people there to watch over him, and if he gets his work done on and off the field, he’ll be successful up there.”
Hayes was second in interceptions (four) and fourth in tackles (79)¿for Garrard last season. He also rushed for a team-high 1,732 yards and 23 touchdowns to help the Golden Lions go 12-2 and make the deepest postseason run in school history, all the way to the Class AAA¿semifinals.
He said he’ll be working this spring to improve his footwork and add a little weight.
“(Ballard) told me if I came in and worked really hard, and knowing my body style and frame I¿can put on probably 15 or 20 pounds of muscle, that if I came in and worked hard like he knew I could, I’d have a chance to be in the starting lineup,”¿Hayes said.
It won’t be easy, however. The Eagles, who were 3-8 in 2011, didn’t have a single senior among the defensive backs listed on the two-deep chart for their season finale.
Hayes said he’ll return to Morehead for the Eagles’ spring game on April 29 and make a few trips there during the summer to work out with some of his future teammates before reporting for camp in August.
“I look forward to giving my all and just seeing how hard I can push myself, knowing the goals I¿can achieve if I¿do it, and just going down there to see if I can win some more,” he said.
“We had a great season (at Garrard) this year, and I¿want to see if I can keep it rolling.”