Land of 10 has embarked on a series of Next Generation articles, a project that aims to bring our readers greater insight into the class of 2017 signees. Michigan State reporter Luke Srodulski has hit the road to visit this year’s incoming class of freshmen and give you an inside look beyond Hudl highlights and head shots. We’ll soon have an in-depth look at future Spartans WR C.J. Hayes. For now, here’s a preview.
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Xavier “X” Price remembers a particular moment well from his time training Michigan State signee C.J. Hayes at Western Kentucky.
They had moved on to the speed and agility portion of the workout. Hayes had seen the worst of a minor flu virus several days earlier and still felt the residual effects.
“I’m gonna throw up, but I don’t know when,” he told Price.
Then came 110-yard wind sprints. After Hayes completed six reps, Price saw grimacing and wanted him to stop. But he continued. Three reps later, Hayes reached his limit. He extended his pointer finger to signal to Price, as he couldn’t speak, and rushed inside to hurl.
When he reemerged minutes later, Price expected to wrap things up. But Hayes remembered that the workout asked for 10 reps.
“I’ve got one more, right?” he asked.
That work ethic has led to successes in many sports. Not only did he win a football state championship at South Warren (Bowling Green, Ky.), but he won a Youth Basketball of America national championship in 2011 and had a verbal agreement with the Toronto Blue Jays that they would pick him in the MLB Draft before he chose football.
The same goes for schoolwork. Hayes took the ACT four times from eighth grade onward to make sure he got his best score possible, and he has developed meaningful relationships with teachers who help him reach his goals.
“He does what’s expected of him, but he goes above and beyond that,” South Warren principal Jenny Hester said. “I’m sure you have plenty of stats that show what he does on the field, but it’s what he does in the classroom as well. He puts in a lot of extra hours working with teachers to ensure that he is gonna be ready for that next step.”
That next step will be playing wide receiver for the Spartans and potentially making his way to the NFL. Beyond that, he hopes to become a veterinarian, for which he has been taking science courses and job shadowing a vet.
Through his parents, Hayes has found diligence and commitment to seeing things through. It hasn’t taken punishment to remind him to do his work in the classroom.
For the complete Michigan State NextGen series, click this link.