Pat Narduzzi and the Pitt coaching staff have made an effort this recruiting cycle to convince top local prospects to stay home and attend Pitt, and on Saturday night, their efforts paid off in the form of a commitment from Dayon Hayes, a coveted defensive end out of Westinghouse High School in Pittsburgh’s Homewood neighborhood.
I want to thank my family, coaches, teammates, and everyone who played a part in the most important decision of my life! Thanks @duzz for welcoming me to the family @CoachPartridge @coachcsanders #H2P pic.twitter.com/eSVeUpaSDJ— DayonHayes (@HayesDayon) June 23, 2019
”I knew Pitt was it when they offered me back in January,” Hayes said of his decision. “I didn’t want to waste any more time. I made it permanent, and I am a Pitt Panther for life.”
The 6’3”, 250-pound defensive end is considered a three-star recruit, according to 247Sports, ESPN, and Rivals, and he drew 26 offers over the course of his recruitment. Hayes chose Pitt over a contingent of Big Ten teams that included Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers. Other teams interested in his services included Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia.
Hayes was recruited heavily by Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi, who included Hayes in his “Defend Your City” campaign and sent out cryptic tweets about Wendy’s that were later determined to be directed at Hayes, who works at a local Wendy’s. Narduzzi had every reason to prioritize Hayes as well, as the recruit amassed 26 sacks and 10 forced fumbles during the 2018 season at Westinghouse.
Hayes is the second defensive end to commit to Pitt this weekend, as Timothy Brown verbally pledged to come to Pitt earlier on Saturday. They will join a crowded position group but may well be talented enough to compete for early playing time. With Hayes’ knack for getting to passers, he could pair well with Pitt defensive lineman Rashad Weaver, who led the team with 14.5 tackles for losses and 6.5 sacks last season. However, for such a pairing to become a reality, Hayes would have to rise through the ranks fairly quickly at Pitt.