TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Ryan Hayes set up a Twitter account for practical purposes. The social media playground does include those among its qualities.
“I made it when I was a sophomore because I realized a lot of coaches use it to contact you first,” Hayes told Land of 10. “But I’m not huge into social media.”
Hayes may not be big into social media, but he is big into competing. It’s one of the attributes that attracted Michigan football coaches to the three-sport star at Traverse City West. Hayes is coming to the Wolverines as a tight end in the 2018 recruiting class, but expectations are that he’ll grow into a tackle. As long as he’s doing it for Michigan, it’s all good.
“I’m going to go in there and try to play tight end, but all the coaches have told me I’ve got a great potential as an offensive tackle,” Hayes said. “Wherever I can fulfill the most of my potential is where I will be fine playing.”
That path is similar to one taken by a former TC West player Jake Fisher, now a tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL. Fisher originally was committed to Michigan when Rich Rodriguez was the coach but signed with Oregon after Rodriguez was fired and replaced by Brady Hoke. Fisher was part of the Oregon team that reached the College Football Playoff title game in 2014 and was chosen by Cincinnati in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
Hayes was named first-team all-state in Division 1-2 by The Associated Press as a tight end, and to the all-division all-state Dream Teams of the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News as a defensive lineman. He was an honorable mention all-state player in basketball after averaging 16.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1 steal per game.
“I actually was more of a 3-point shooter this year,” Hayes said. “I took a lot of threes and hit a lot of them.”
He’s equally adept on the baseball field, especially when he’s on the mound. He drove in one run with a single and pitched TC West to a 6-0 win in the first game of a doubleheader against Gaylord on Tuesday, allowing just 4 hits without a walk while striking out 14 batters in the shutout. The Titans will host their district tournament beginning June 1.
Hayes is following in the footsteps of his parents. Mike Hayes, his father, was an offensive lineman at Central Michigan. Susan Nissen Arthur is in the CMU Hall of Fame and has her jersey retired at the school.
“She was really good,” said Hayes. “We used to battle in the driveway up into when I was in middle school. I finally got stronger. I never took it easy, but she never took it easy on me, either.”
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is fond of multi-sport athletes. It’s something he encourages players to do, and it’s something he liked about Hayes. There is a possibility Hayes could try to add baseball to his schedule at Michigan.
So, does he have a favorite sport?
“Honestly, no, I couldn’t choose,” Hayes said. “I’ve played them all my life and I can’t pick.”
Now, if he had his choice of a producing a game-winning play in one of the three sports?
“That’s real tough,” he said. “Honestly, in a big game, in a big baseball game, I think a home run would feel the best. You can score touchdowns and hit threes, but a walk-off homer would be pretty cool.”
One thing Hayes would do more of, if he could find the time, is fish. There are ample spots in the Traverse City area, and his mother and stepfather have property in Canada.
“It’s peaceful and it’s on the water,” Hayes said. “I love the water and there are a lot of cool places. It’s fun. It’s not as fun if you don’t catch stuff, but it sure is fun reeling in a big one.”
Hayes said he would like to follow his parents off the playing field as well. Both have earned doctorate degrees. Mike Hayes is a psychiatrist while Sue Arthur is a physical therapist. Ryan said he hasn’t decided on a major yet, but it will likely be in the medical field.
Until then, he’ll stay away from social media and concentrate on the challenges ahead of him.