2020 Season Countdown: #18 Ryan Hayes

2020 Season Countdown: #18 Ryan Hayes

September 20, 2020
Ryan Hayes (image via Twitter)

Name: Ryan Hayes
302 lbs.
High school: 
Traverse City (MI) West
Offensive tackle
Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: 
Last year: 
I ranked Hayes #77 and said he would be a backup offensive tackle (LINK). He started two games and played in twelve games.
TTB Rating:

Hayes was forced into action a little early last year. He was expected to be the #4 tackle going into the season, with Jon Runyan, Jr. entrenched on the left side and Jalen Mayfield/Andrew Stueber battling for a starting gig on the right side. Then Stueber tore his ACL, giving Mayfield the right tackle job by default. And then Runyan was working through an injury to begin the year.

So Hayes went from the #4 tackle to starting the opener in pretty short order. He did about as well as expected, showing some nice athleticism while also looking lost at times. It was good for him to get his feet wet, but it was also nice when Runyan returned to take over the role for the remainder of the year.

This year with Runyan gone and Stueber looking like a starter at guard, Hayes seems pretty solidly locked in to the left tackle position. Mayfield is further along in his development, but offensive line coach Ed Warinner said there were no plans to move Mayfield over to protect the blind side. That indicates that there’s confidence in Hayes’s ability, and he’s also put on some weight, jumping up to 302 pounds on the fall roster. I expect some growing pains as a first-year full-time starter, but overall, I think Hayes should be a pretty good player by the time the season wraps.

Prediction: Starting left tackle


  1. Lanknows
    Comments: 6278
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Sep 20, 2020 at 12:23 PM

    Good post.

    Feels low for a starting LT but absolutely true that Hayes is still pretty unproven. I would argue that just puts even more value on his performance (a la 2019 Jeter logic) at a critical position. We need to keep Milton healthy and comfortable in the pocket for this offense to move forward from last year. But perhaps Barnhart or Jones are viable options without having to move Steuber.

    Anyway Hayes, like Milton, enters his junior year on an excellent trajectory for someone who hasn’t played all that much. It was always supposed to take time, also like Milton, but the ceiling is high. The bits we’ve seen, and their ascension on the depth chart seems very promising, even if some of their early limitations have been evident.

    Michigan enters the season with two first-year starters at QB and LT which will leave a lot of us feeling unsure, but also optimistic and hopeful about their potential.

  2. Lanknows
    Comments: 6278
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Sep 20, 2020 at 12:25 PM

    Hayes last year shows the boom/bust nature of backup OL importance. Typically the 4th OT doesn’t play very much beyond special teams and backup snaps in non-meaningful situations, but Hayes ended up starting.

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