Purdue received its first verbal commitment for the 2016 class on Thursday when cornerback Josh Hayes from Pike High School in Indianapolis tweeted his intentions to play for the Boilermakers.
I have decided to commit to the University of Purdue #BoilerUp— ✈J- Glizzy✈ (@JoshHayes_8) May 1, 2015
And, for those of you who are upset by his faux pas, he quickly corrected it for you.
Purdue University* yall know what I meant lol Either way I'm Boilered Up— ✈J- Glizzy✈ (@JoshHayes_8) May 1, 2015
Hayes is a 3-star prospect according to all of the top recruiting sites and is listed as the 12th best player in the state for 2016 by 247sports. The coaching staff extended an offer to the 5'-11", 180 lb. cornerback in October and he had an unofficial visit to West Lafayette in November. Purdue was the only school to offer, but other schools from the B1G and the MAC were showing interest in this very early commit.
This is Purdue's first commitment for the 2016 class and it fills a position of extreme need for the Boilers. Cornerback is already razor-thin heading in to 2015 and things are looking pretty bleak for 2016. Seniors Frankie Williams and Anthony Brown will be gone, leaving 2015 sophomore Da'Wan Hunte as the only experienced corner for 2016. Coach Hazell also has a trio of incoming freshmen for 2015 that will obviously be expected to contribute heavily in 2016. At least one of those players will redshirt this coming season, which means that cornerback will again be razor-thin and with even less experience. The safety position is relatively deep both this year and next and I would expect Hazell and his defensive staff to continue to tweak the roster and shift players from safety to corner as needed.
After watching the highlights of Hayes from Hudl, I believe we're getting a very good player and I'm excited about this commitment. As I always say, though, highlights don't show the lowlights - they show what a player is capable of at his best and at that given time. It appears that Hayes has very good awareness and that is by far his best attribute. He said during an interview that he felt that he excelled in man coverage, but I think he's built more for zone coverage based on how he moves off of his man so quickly when the play changes form. He's extremely aware of where he needs to be but he also has a keen eye for where the action is and he can change his direction quickly.
He says he runs a 4.4 or 4.5 forty, which is fantastic for a corner his size. I'm more impressed by his speed when he changes his mind on who he's covering - his pursuit speed when he realizes that the guy he's covering is out of the play. He's quick to react and his pursuit is above average. His tackling, though, seems lacking or average at best, but that is one thing that can easily be changed through good coaching.
Check out his highlights from hudl below and let us know what you think.