Poly Prep defensive lineman Jay Hayes is a step closer to being an All-American.
The junior, who is committed to play football at Notre Dame, received his official nomination for the 2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl from two service members during a brief ceremony at the school on Tuesday morning.
Hayes, the ranked ninth in the country at his position by Scout.com, was one of 400 players nationwide nominated for the game, which will be played Jan. 4 at the Alamo Bowl and broadcast on NBC. He is hoping to be one of 90 players selected in September to participate in the game.
“It would be one of the gleaming images in my life,” Hayes said. “It would be a point in my life I would always remember.”
If Hayes is selected he would become the Blue Devils’ first All-American since guard Eric Olsen, a 2005 graduate who also went to Notre Dame, and is now a member of the New Orleans Saints. The last Poly Prep player in the Army game was 2002 grad Kwakou Robinson, a former Virginia defensive end.
“Hopefully, I can get to this game and prove to people that I’m the best player to come out of Poly,” he said.
Hayes called this contest the best All-American game because of its link to the Army. Getting to talk to the servicemen and women about teamwork and leadership is something he’s looking forward to.
“Being able to speak with veterans and those fighting for your country is an amazing experience,” Hayes said.
Unlike most other players at this point, he already has a college. Hayes was at Notre Dame to watch a spring game two weeks ago and couldn’t have been happier with his choice. It’s taken the pressure off him and allowed him to focus on achieving his goals.
“Now I can focus on school and enjoy my last years of high school,” Hayes said.
And hopefully an All-American game, as well.Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at jstaszewsk