November 17, 2011

Hayes reflects on senior season

Thomasville High School standout Tyler Hayes had his season end on a sour note last Friday when he suffered sprains in both his knee and ankle, forcing him to exit in the second quarter of the Tigers' second-round playoff loss to Dadeville High School.

"We were going for it on fourth down, and some dude grabbed my leg and twisted it hard," Hayes said. "It was my first time to get hurt since I've been playing football."

The injuries are not considered serious, and Hayes already seems to be doing better, but it was still difficult for the Alabama commitment to watch his team finish the most important game of the year without him.

"I'm pretty sick about it," Hayes said. "The season went good. It just didn't end the way I wanted it to."

Hayes' senior season may not have ended the way he wanted, but judging from the numbers, it was about the only thing that didn't go the way he wanted this year.

The four-star finished with 97 tackles, three sacks and one interception return for a touchdown. He also made an impact on offense with 575 yards rushing, 134 receiving and even 165 yards passing.

On special teams, Hayes didn't take a break as he served as the team's kick returner and punter. He averaged 40 yards on 13 punts in five games this season.

"I was in pretty much every play," Hayes said. "We had a lot of injuries at a bunch of different positions. I played linebacker, receiver, wing back, running back, quarterback, punter, kick returner, punt returner. I mean, I just played."

Thomasville head coach Jack Hankins, who's been the Tigers' head coach for 10 years, heaped praise on his team's do-it-all player, particularly Hayes' ability to play anywhere his team needs him to play.

"He did a great job for us this year," Hankins said. "He played any position we needed him for. Really, he just did what Tyler does. He made plays."

The future member of the Crimson Tide said he believes his ability to play a full 60 minutes gives him an early head start on the infamously tenuous Fourth Quarter strength and conditioning program at the University of Alabama.

Although Hayes is ready to bring his talents to Tuscaloosa, Hankins said the Mr. Football candidate still has time before he begins his collegiate career.

"He's excited (about going to Alabama), but he's still just a high school kid," Hankins said. "He's just going to get ready for basketball season and enjoy his senior year."

Hayes plans to join the Thomasville basketball team when he has recovers from his injuries. This weekend, he's scheduled to be in Tuscaloosa to see Alabama take on Georgia Southern.

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