Skip to content

Justice Hayes’ U-turn ends up with commitment to Michigan

Nov 23, 2010, 12:30 AM EDT

Getty Images - Jonathan Daniel Getty Images

In one of the more bizarre turn of events, Notre Dame has lost running back commitment Justice Hayes — one of Notre Dame’s most enthusiastic high school recruiters — who has decommitted from the Irish and in a matter of days given his pledge to the home state Michigan Wolverines.

“I’m a Wolverine now,” Hayes told on Monday night. “I just got off the phone with Coach Rodriguez and Coach Jackson, me and my parents, and we told them what direction we wanted to go in.”

Hayes visited Notre Dame for the Tulsa game and while his initial reaction after the game was positive, something mysterious happened that turned Hayes off from the Irish. spoke with Hayes yesterday, and while he was still considering the Irish along with Michigan, Michigan State, and Tennessee, the writing was on the wall.

“Things had been happening for the past three months with the school, and I’m not saying the lack of success had an effect, but with that you had (Declan Sullivan’s) death last month and I heard rumors of coaching changes, but at that point I was still sold 100-percent,” Hayes said.

Back on Nov. 13 Hayes and his parents traveled to South Bend for Notre Dame’s game against Utah. They hoped to discuss with the Notre Dame coaching staff all the issues that caused Hayes to question his commitment.

Instead, they left even more concerned about the future.

“When we went down there I was sold on Notre Dame 100-percent, even with those issues,” Hayes said. “We went down there to talk with the coaches but they didn’t get the chance to talk to my parents. That really had an effect on me and my family.”

After discussing what had happened on the visit, Hayes decided to open up his recruitment to be sure he made the right decision four months ago.

“I’m not leaving, I’m just opening up to make sure I’m making the right decision,” Hayes said. “I kind of jumped into it early and I want to see if this is really what I want to do. I want to look at other options.”

Hayes has been mum on what particularly went wrong and took to Twitter to both change his profile name and release cryptic messages about something that “happened.” Regardless of what it was, Hayes was a high-profile running back recruit and the fourth decommitment from the Irish in the past two months. With running backs Armando Allen and Robert Hughes graduating, the Irish will look to add another running back, as they were already pursuing New Jersey’s Savon Huggins and likely will offer another running back.



  1. ndfan82 - Nov 23, 2010 at 12:37 AM

    Sounds like another under handed move by the ever prestigious Rich Rod, I feel bad for Hayes he might not even have the same coach in a couple of years.

    • tlndma - Nov 23, 2010 at 5:50 AM

      If the kid is woried about a coaching change, he didn’t change to the most stable of situations. This recruiting can be a little maddening. Obviously most of these pledges aren’t worth very much. We get upset by them but, by Feb. we will probably have turned one or two commits ourselves.
      Huggins, MacDaniels and Carlisle, now on Irish board.

  2. papadec - Nov 23, 2010 at 1:22 AM

    There are no commits until the letter of intent is received. That should be painfully clear by now. That’s what it has been, is now, and will be in the future. If a kid gets sold a bill of goods, by another program, that’s his problem.

  3. mattnef - Nov 23, 2010 at 7:39 AM

    I agree with BK on this one. If they don’t want to be at Notre Dame, we don’t want them at Notre Dame. That being said, Michigan? Really?

  4. imamanim40 - Nov 23, 2010 at 1:48 PM

    oh well, no big loss…plus, he doesn’t play defense, therefore he won’t make michigan any better than they already are

  5. ndgoldandblue - Nov 23, 2010 at 2:11 PM

    What is going on?! I don’t really follow other programs, so I don’t know if other colleges (i.e. Florida, Texas, Alabama, etc.) lose recruits, but I hope so. I hope that Notre Dame isn’t the only program that loses recruits like this. Four decommitments in the span of two months? It’s hard enough for a program with the academic standards of Notre Dame to get student-athletes to commit in the first place, but for them to lose commitments after they had already committed makes the difficult (building a national championship-caliber team) nearly impossible. And this seems to happen every year. I can’t remember his name, but who was the big-time, five-star recruit who decommitted after Weis’ firing last year and then committed to Colorado, then to Florida (I think)? These guys are blue-chippers that the Irish need. If not for skill and athleticism, Notre Dame needs to hang on to their recruits just from a numbers standpoint. We all saw the depth issues the Irish had this year in their secondary. If a starter goes out (which happens a lot if you’ve followed the Irish this year), Notre Dame needs a solid backup to come in and do the job. I love the “next man in” mentality that Coach Kelly has, but he needs for there to be a next man. Am I worried for nothing? What do you guys think? Is anyone else here just a little worried about all the recruits jumping ship? Hey…I have all the belief that the Rocket wants me to have. I love this team, and I will remain loyal through the great and not-so-great times. I just wonder why so many other programs have this fantastic turnover when it comes to their talent, and Notre Dame can’t do that very well. After ’06, the Irish had little talent and practically no experience. Please, someone tell me that my worries over losing four big recruits in two months is unwarranted. I want to be convinced.

  6. ndfootballfan4life - Nov 23, 2010 at 2:41 PM

    I would like to think that there was more to this kids decision to decommit with ND and go to Michigan than the fact that Kelly didn’t get a chance to talk to his parents. But if that is in fact what changed his mind, hopefully Kelly learns from this and realizes that you have to pitch to more than just the player.

  7. jerseyshorendfan1 - Nov 23, 2010 at 9:58 PM

    Wanted Huggins anyway.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!