- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 1, 2010

TOLEDO, OHIO (AP) - Ken Hayes committed to Ohio State before his junior season, then helped Toledo Whitmer High School get into the Ohio Division I playoffs last fall.

Hayes gained national attention as a sophomore in 2008, using his speed from the edge of the defensive line to register eight sacks and 12 tackles for losses.

After signing with the Buckeyes, he came back to get 50 tackles, including 10 for losses, to help Whitmer to a 9-2 record in 2009. He had four tackles, including one for a loss in a playoff loss to traditional power Canton McKinley.

“This year, I want to win a state championship,” said Hayes, who is on The Associated Press East Region 25 list of top recruits. “I’d like more sacks and tackles, but helping my team win a championship is my goal. My getting more numbers should help the team.”

Hayes had plenty of college offers, but quickly became the Buckeyes’ first recruit for 2011 almost as soon as he was eligible a year ago. Ohio State is No. 2 in the Top 25 preseason poll.

“There was no need to wait,” Hayes said. “My entire family are all huge Buckeye fans. All my life I’ve wanted to play at Ohio State and there was no other school for me. I love the defense they play and am excited to be a part of it. I know the defensive coordinator (Jim Heacock) and went to all their home games last year.”

Hayes is a speed rusher who loves to use spin moves to get past opposing offensive linemen, though one knock on him is somewhat limited lateral movement. He’s a somewhat lanky defensive end now, but with the Buckeyes piling up so many defensive line candidates, could be moved inside to tackle if he continues to add weight and strength. He has added 40 pounds since the start of his sophomore year and still has room to grow.

Also a good-rebounding basketball player at Whitmer, Hayes‘ long arms enable him to knock down passes and fend off blockers. Coaches love his passionate pursuit downfield. He often makes a tackle on a ball carrier 10-15 yards down the opposite side of the field.