Geno Hayes and His Hero

September 4th, 2008
If linebacker Geno Hayes can come remotely close to playing like his football hero and current teamamte Derrick Brooks, the Bucs will have gotten a steal in the draft.

If linebacker Geno Hayes can come remotely close to playing like his football hero and teammate Derrick Brooks, the Bucs will have gotten a steal in the draft.

Joe is a little late in getting to this, but better late than never.

While the Bucs cutting linebacker Ryan Nece was a bit of a surprise to Joe, apparently the main reason for letting Nece go was the emergence of linebacker Geno Hayes. And the path he took to the Bucs is unique.

Hayes played at Florida State. He was such a touted recruit under the tutelage of then-associate head coach and linebackers guru Kevin Steele that Hayes was given the sacred No. 10 of the Seminoles, Derrick Brooks’ old number. Hayes never shied away from the comparison to Brooks, no matter how unfair. It seemed as if that motivated him.

As a result, Hayes quickly became a fan favorite.

In some ways, Hayes was compared to Brooks because both are ridiculously quick. And like Brooks, Hayes was a ballhawk. He teamed with Buster Davis for a lethal one-two punch from the Seminoles linebackers that also included Lawrence Timmons, the Steelers 2007 first round draft pick.

While Davis provided the thunder, Hayes was the lightning, with a nose for the ball seemingly flying from sideline to sideline. Rightly or wrongly – though Hayes vehemently denies he was involved – Hayes was rumored to be linked to an academic scandal involving several members of the Florida State football team. Shortly thereafter, Hayes decided to turn pro early despite previous statements he was returning for his senior season.

Realistically, Hayes should still be in school. So in a sense he is still developing. But his decision turned out to be possibly a good decision for the Bucs.

Mel Kiper wrote glowingly about Hayes on and spoke in excited terms about him earlier this year to the Orlando Sentinel.

“Well, Geno Hayes, I think he’s not Derrick Brooks. I know he wore that number, but he’s a kid when you watch him – and obviously he’s a kid that played a lot of football, a kid that has been out there in the spotlight for a longtime. Not real big, but I think when you look at what he was able to do in terms of he became a leader for their defense, you know, he’s not reticent, not real big, but very, very athletic. And I think you look at the productivity. I mean, the kid made a lot of plays – a lot of stops behind the line of scrimmage. The number of sacks. Works well in reverse – he can cover. I think when you look at him, with the feel he has in covers, not just that he can run, and he’s athletic, but he has a real good feel for dropping back in coverage. With the right situation, he could be a guy in the third round that would be very attractive to somebody.”

Because the Bucs drafted Hayes in the sixth round, Joe didn’t expect him to make the team. Joe is happy for Hayes. Now, if he can even remotely come close to his football hero and current teammate Brooks, the Bucs will have gotten a steal.

2 Responses to “Geno Hayes and His Hero”

  1. Chris Says:

    I’m a Gator but I knew that Nole LBin’ trio was NFL caliber talent. I wanted the Bucs to get Buster, and I believe you did to Joe, last year but instead we got a gem in Geno Hayes. I do believe Geno can step in next year and fight Cato June for the OLB spot. Either way I think he will be better than Q. Black at ILB who at times this preseason looked lost and out of position! geno this preseason kept making play after play!!!

    And for the fans of #55, Mr. Derrick Brooks and what it means to be a complete player and person

    Hopefully one day Geno Hayes can stand next to that shadow #55 casts!

  2. Says:

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