Ridgeland linebacker Ian Hayes is the No. 11-ranked college football prospect among area high school seniors. Hayes, whose interested schools include the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Middle Tennessee State, sat down with the Times Free Press recently before the start of his final prep season.
Q: What kind of training have you done to make yourself into a better player?
A: "I worked with trainers at school just about every day on my speed. I also worked out every muscle you can in your body to get stronger and faster this year -- a lot more than I worked last year even."
Q: What areas of your game do you want to improve this year?
A: "Everything. You can't settle -- you have to keep working hard. I dropped my 40 time from a 4.9 last year to 4.7 this year, and that's big. I worked a lot on explosiveness, doing a lot of lunges, sleds, hurdles and jumping rope. Anything to get faster and quicker and more explosive off the ball."
Q: What kind of player would a college be getting in you?
A: "I'm a talker. But I'll also talk with my pads. I want to take my opponent's hope. I like to set the tone. I may smile a lot, but when the ball is snapped, it's all business."
Q: Coach (Mark) Mariakis says he could see you maybe playing defensive end someday. Is that something you would like to do, and what would it take to make it happen?
A: "Most definitely. I'm quicker than most defensive linemen, and I know how to use a rip and swim move to get by people. If I keep growing, I would play wherever I'm needed."
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...