Hayes says the Florida Gators are “100%” his top school

The Florida Gators are in desperate need of linebackers in the Class of 2024 after only signing one in the 2023 class and last weekend one of their top targets was on campus.

2024 linebacker Adarius Hayes (6-4, 210, Largo, FL. High) was on campus and he got to see a little more of the academic side of things this trip.

“It was a great visit,” Hayes said of his visit to Florida on Saturday. “I got to be around the coaches more, tour the campus, tour the academic side and then we did a photoshoot. I would say the highlight was the photo shoot, but I didn’t do much with it because every time I go up there, I do one.

While on campus, Hayes had the chance to spend more time with the coaching staff and he says his relationship is growing with the staff.

“I was with Coach [Jay] Bateman, Coach [Jamar] Chaney, and Coach [Billy] Napier,” he said on the coaches he was around. “They’re three great coaches right there. Our relationship is going great, we’re getting closer and closer, and I feel like by the time I get ready to make my decision I will be even closer.”

Linebackers coach Jay Bateman explained to Hayes just how the Gators see him fitting into the defense, and he also broke down the linebacker’s film with him.

“He said that I can be a middle linebacker but on third down that I can still come off the edge or up the middle as a blitzer,” Hayes said on where Bateman wants him. “I will mainly play linebacker at the next level, and I have a lot of potential there. He went over my film with me and showed me some things that I can improve on in the future.”

Head coach Billy Napier also made sure to let Hayes know that he’s a big priority for the Gators and he’s needed in Gainesville.

“He just said that I’m whenever I’m ready to make the move, he’s ready,” Hayes said on the message from Napier. “He said I’m a top priority for the Florida Gators and he said that me, Myles Graham, Shemar James, and a couple more linebackers are the guys he needs to step up.”

Heading into the visit the Gators were on top for Hayes and the linebacker says that didn’t change at all after the trip.

“Florida is 100 percent my top school,” he said. “Growing up as a kid, I loved the Florida Gators and to have the opportunity to be recruited by them is a big part of my recruitment. They’re my dream school and that will never change.”

Hayes has already been on campus over a dozen times and he already knows when he plans to return and will be soon.

“I’ll be back this weekend,” Hayes said. “I just want to keep getting comfortable with the coaching staff and the players.”


INSIDERS TAKE: Hayes says he will likely make a decision in the spring or summer time, but he doesn’t have an exact plan set just yet.

Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.