Football Recruiting

Austin Hays: Special Talent Looking For Offers

As National Signing day nears, I’m going to highlight some kids that I think are falling through the cracks for one reason or another. Whether in sports or business, it happens all the time. It shouldn’t, not with all the schools, scouts and services at one’s disposal, but it does.
Unfortunately a junior year injury has made Austin Hays one of those players. A kid that has size, speed, hands and runs precise routes isn’t a commonly overlooked prospect. If you want Austin Hays’ healthy comparable, Texas is looking at a player with a similar skill-set in the 2013 Dallas Jesuit receiver Jake Oliver. I haven’t seen Austin play in person, so I contacted my eyes and ears in Central Texas, JB10 to get his take. Here’s an excerpt of an e-mail that JB sent me about 2012 sleeper Austin Hays. “Austin Hays has been a key component of Reagan’s success the last three years,” he explained. “He has great hands, decent speed and runs good routes. He excelled at winning the battle for the ball in a crowd. He was definitely Trevor Knight’s go to guy on critical plays. Knight looked for Hays, even though Knight’s twin brother (OU preferred walk on?) was also in the game. He could get deep, but he is also a great possession receiver. He would make the first down play in critical situations.””Reagan was a much, much better team when Hays was on the field. He missed much of his Jr. year due to a broken foot. When he played, he was not 100 %. I think that made him fall off the radar.” “I saw Hays when they played Madison. Reagan is a run first spread team. Knight was 7 of 14 in that game. Hays had 3 receptions for about 120 yards and 2 TDs. As I recall he was wide open another time and was overthrown. I was very impressed with his ability. He was a play action deep threat for Reagan.”High praise indeed from a football guy you should trust on the matter. By now, you should be as thoroughly confused by Hays’ lack of offers as JB and I are. I decided to dig a little deeper and get to the heart of the matter. I contacted Austin himself to see if he had an answer. It turns out that foot injury during his junior year has indeed been the main culprit for the lack of interest from BCS schools. The kid flat out produces, as evidenced by his senior stats of 55 catches, 1,060 yards and 14 touchdowns. When it comes to his measurables, Austin is healthy now and ready for some last minute offers. What’s not to like about high 4.4’s and great hands, packaged in a 6-foot-3, 185-pound frame? Oh yeah, he’s also the son of Longhorn letterman Russell Hays, so he has that going for him, which you would think would be nice.  Eric: What’s going on, Austin? I have to ask, what’s the deal? Where are the offers? Austin: Good question. I had a stress fracture in my foot my junior year and I missed five games. Then when I came back, I wasn’t in the greatest shape, so my film wasn’t that impressive. The way things are in recruiting, your junior year is your most important. I was getting a lot of looks going into my junior year and then just kind of fell off the radar. Eric: Yes, your junior year is extremely important. However, you rebounded nicely. You put up great numbers on a strong team. Austin: Yep, I had a pretty good year. I was able to put up decent numbers even though we’re such a run heavy team. I don’t know… Eric: You have great size too. I see you’re listed at 6-foot-3 and 185-pounds. That’s a good frame. Is it accurate? Austin: Yes it is. Eric: You’re not slow either. You’ve ran in the high 4.4’s before. I’m getting frustrated just talking about it. Is it true you don’t have any offers? Austin: Ha, it is frustrating. I’ve been offered by most of the D-II schools in Texas. Stephen F. Austin said if I get to their campus they’ll offer. Also, I’ve heard from Oklahoma State and Minnesota. They both tell me that they have offers out that they have to honor, but if those guys go elsewhere, I’m in line. I also have a few other big schools that say they’re close offering. Eric: Ok, that’s making some sense. Oklahoma State would be fantastic. If National Signing Day was tomorrow, what would you do? Austin: Probably tell my parents we need to hurry up and go see SFA. Eric: Ha, nothing wrong with that, but hopefully it doesn’t come to that. What would you say your strengths and weaknesses are? Austin: Strengths would be my route running and hands. Weaknesses, I’d say quickness, not really my straight line speed, but I guess agility. Eric: Do you have a favorite player? Austin: I like Jordan Shipley a lot. I know he tore his ACL this year, but that’s my favorite player. Eric: As the son of a Longhorn, I take it that’s your team. Austin: Oh yeah, I love UT. That’s always been my team. Eric: Do you and your father attend games? Austin: We have season tickets, but we only made it to one game this year. I had a weird schedule this year where we played a lot of games on Saturdays. Eric: You’re also a good student. Have you heard from the Ivys? Austin: Yes, I’ve heard from Dartmouth and Princeton, but I don’t think they offer athletic scholarships. Eric: I take it you’d like to get a solid education while playing in a bigger program? Austin: Yes, that would be ideal. Eric: What about baseball? My buddy JB tells me you’re quite the ballplayer as well. How good are we talking here? College level? Austin: I’ve been offered some partial scholarships as a pitcher, but I really want to play football. Eric: Well, here’s hoping something really opens up for you. Thanks for your time. Good luck and let us know if anything happens with your recruitment. Austin: Will do and thank you.(Hangs up phone, and the Cuba Gooding voice in my head says: Gerald Hanson, Dustin Miksch, hell Darius White. Austin smokes all them fools.)Seriously, someone is going to get them a steal of a wide receiver prospect if they offer the young man. He’s a great kid, good student, hard worker, and has the athleticism and size to play major division I college football. I hope it works out for Austin.