Name: Ryan Hayes
Weight: 302 lbs.
High school: Traverse City (MI) West
Position: Offensive tackle
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #76
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: 84
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