Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has lost another blue-chip recruit, running back Justice Hayes of Grand Blanc, Mich., who is the fourth highly regarded prospect to de-commit from the Irish program.
Hayes, a 5-10, 187-pounder with 4.42 speed, is rated as the No. 60 player in the nation. He joins two other top 100 players, defensive end Aaron Lynch of Cape Coral Island, Fla., and offensive lineman Jordan Prestwood of Plant City, Fla., and defensive end Clay Burton of Venice, Fla., who also decided to de-commit from Notre Dame.
Lynch and Prestwood have since committed to Florida State. Burton opted to commit to Florida. Hayes didn't take very long to make a decision, choosing to commit to Michigan on Tuesday. Lynch was rated as the No. 61 player in the country, Prestwood No. 66.
The four defections greatly affect Notre Dame's recruiting class for 2011. The Irish had been ranked No. 5 in the nation but have dropped to No. 15 and continue to fall. Kelly hasn't landed a commitment in some time.
Honestly, I can't explain why Kelly has lost these four players. There is some suspicion that Kelly's staff is too inexperienced in recruiting at Notre Dame's level and is having trouble dealing with players who continue to be recruited by other elite programs.
Hayes has the kind of speed that Kelly was desperately trying to infuse into his offensive backfield. He has been timed in 10.7 seconds for 100 meters and 22.1 for 200. Originally, he chose Notre Dame over Michigan, Michigan State and Tennessee. He also considered Iowa, Syracuse, Illinois and Indiana.