PITTSBURGH (GSM) — As the new year begins and sounds of “Auld Lang Syne” slowly fades away, we take a look back on 2019 at a player that has earned his spot in high school football’s elite.
Standing at 6′ 3,” 250 pounds, Dayon Hayes has been a dominating force in ways that set him apart from the pack.
The Westinghouse Bulldogs’ standout defensive end has made a name for himself on the gridiron, raising the eyebrows of recruits across the nation. His stature, coupled with the ability to have an explosive break on the ball, has been second to none and his statistics show how dominating he has been throughout his high school career.
80 Tackles | 23 sacks | 14 Tackles for loss | 1 Interception | 2 Forced Fumbles | 2 Fumble Recoveries
Hayes spoke exclusively to Golden Sky Media saying, “My Westinghouse experience is great and I wouldn’t want to be any other place than here, because the history is so great.”
Westinghouse Academy, which has a rich history of musicians, physicians, politicians, attorneys, scholars, members of the media and of course athletes, is a staple of not only Pittsburgh but has history that can rival institutions around the world.
As far as football goes, Hayes told us that he is thrilled to be named among the giants that have donned the halls of the Blue and Gold. “It’s been a long time since there has been something good happening at Westinghouse — like a football championship — and I’m just glad I’m a part of turning Westinghouse’s program around.”
For the past 23 years, Westinghouse has been fighting for the chance to hoist the trophy and stand alone as the kings of the city. For the first time since 1996, they accomplished that goal with the help of Hayes.
Bulldogs’ head coach Donta Green speaks on behalf of the entire coaching staff saying of Hayes, “He’s everything a coach wants in a player. He has amazing work ethic and is a joy to be around!”
Flanked by traditional chants by Westinghouse faithful, “There’s a House, up on a Hill, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go,” his team won the 2019 City League Championship over USO 12-2 at George K. Cupples Stadium on Pittsburgh’s Southside. Westinghouse had 36 active players on the roster and won its 36th championship in school history.
Green, a man that puts no one player above the team, took to social media after the win, praising his entire team’s performance in addition to their academic achievements, “These young people worked hard both in the classroom and the field to make this day happen! Coach loves you guys and I salute each and every one of you for your sacrifice and dedication.” –Donta Green, via Facebook.
DeWayne Brown is the founder of 2/10ths Speed and Agility, which is an extreme workout regimen, that trains athletes from youth football to the professional ranks who have interest in gaining physical and mental awareness in their respective sports. He has worked with Hayes in the past in the area of positional drills to increasing footwork.
Brown has seen many athletes grow within his program and when it comes to Hayes, Brown said his technique and ability to excel is one of the best he’s seen. “Dayon is an elite athlete with an elite 1st step that will translate on all levels of football,” Brown said of Hayes. “Once he puts everything together mentality — with all his physical components — he will be one of those special players.”
Brown, raving about Hayes’ ability says, if things line up the way they should, “He has all the tools to get to the NFL. He’s very teachable. You give him a directive and he’ll execute it. He’s also a fast learner.”
Hayes officially committed to the University of Pittsburgh and will be sure to find playing time with the Panthers. He will most likely see the field early in his college career.
COURTESY: PITT LIVEWIRE
Sean McCaskill is founder of Dream Chaser 5 (DC5) which develops middle and high school athletes dreaming about becoming the next 5-star defensive back. McCaskill trains those who aspire to become successful in the secondary but has “…never had the pleasure of working” with Hayes. However, as an ardent scout of talent, he has watched Hayes develop and shared favorable remarks about his character.
“So many athletes love the lifestyle, but [Hayes] learned to embrace the process to becoming great,” McCaskill said. “It’s extremely difficult to bet against a player like him, because he’s willing to do those things that everyone is not willing to do. He’s about to be coached by arguably the best D-Line coach in college football, Coach Charlie Partridge at Pitt.”
Hayes was “thrilled and pleasantly surprised” about becoming the 2019 Golden Sky Media “Golden Player of the Year,” saying, “I’m very happy about it! This is something new and I’m glad to be apart of this and happy to be the player of the year.”
Not making this accolade about himself, he has advice for younger players who are watching him and coming through the ranks themselves, “You can do anything you put your mind to. It doesn’t matter where you go to school because everyone told me I couldn’t do what I’m doing now,” Hayes said. “I just got on my grind and accomplished some of my goals and that was getting scholarships to schools and my favorite one [Pitt], too.”
Hayes is an honor-roll student first, a blue-chip player second and now the recipient of the inaugural “Golden Player of the Year” award, granted by Golden Sky Media.
BRIAN COOK IS AN EMMY-NOMINATED INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST WHO HAS BEEN COVERING THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE SINCE 2005. HE CAN BE REACHED AT BCOOK@GOLDENSKYMEDIA.COM.