Commitment Spotlight: 2017 OL Marquis Hayes Jr.

Image via Scout

As you are certainly aware by now, Oklahoma picked up a commitment from versatile 2017 OL Marquis Hayes Jr. this past week. This was someone I had my eye on for a while now, so when news broke OU had offered and Hayes’ commitment followed shortly thereafter it was exciting news.

In large part because, in my opinion, you need guys like Hayes in order to build an elite offensive line. If for no other reason than an attribute mentioned above that Hayes possesses, versatility.

Most of the time there are guys who are either interior players OR tackles. Very rarely do you find a guy who can be a big time difference maker at both guard and/or tackle. However, Hayes very much has the look of the latter.

Around 6’5” and in the neighborhood of 320 pounds, Hayes has the size to play either inside or outside. After watching just a couple of plays from his tape, there’s no doubt in my mind he has the power to play inside and root out those smaller 3-techniques/A-gap players he’ll face in the Big 12. He also has not only the length to be able to handle the rangy, quick defenders on the outside, but the nimble feet as well to adjust and handle guys coming off the edge.

With the nature and prevalence of injuries today, having someone like Hayes who you can move around along the line is invaluable. If you’ll allow me to channel my inner Bob Stoops and harken back to the Sugar Bowl just a couple of years ago. Coming into that game against Alabama, Derek Farniok had really struggled at LT in the Bedlam game. And somewhat understandably a number of OU fans were concerned with how the Sooners would field a line that could handle Bama’s stout defensive front.

Bedenbaugh, being the savant and master architect that he is, slid Daryl Williams over from RT to LT, put Dionte Savage in at LG, played Nila Kasitati at RG, and bumped veteran Bronson Irwin out to RT. The versatility of not just Irwin, but a number of those guys was essential to the success of the offense that night and even now several years after the fact a underrated storyline from that game.

And while I think it’s fairly obvious Hayes is more athletic than Irwin was, my point is that having ‘team guys’ who necessarily don’t care where they line up and will bring the nasty on every play is a huge deal for any team.

Watching Hayes’ film, personally I really like him at RT. I don’t doubt he could play LT if asked, but the mere fact we’re having the discussion about a kid who will most likely start out at guard even has the ability to play either tackle spot speaks volumes to his game. And if Hayes does stay inside at the next level, his athleticism and length will be critical when facing the more dynamic defensive fronts OU teams tend to face outside of the Big 12.

And that length specifically is something that is far too underrated for football teams. It was a considerable disadvantage on OU’s part and played a significant role in their ultimate undoing against Clemson this past year in the Orange Bowl.

So I’m thrilled at the prospect of bringing in someone with Hayes’ ability and very eager to see his nasty streak manifest itself once Bedenbaugh is able to really get his hands on him.

I really believe this OU offensive line is ready to move into a new era. Whether it’s Cody Ford, Ben Powers or Jonathan Alvarez, any of the three are the definition of competitive, strong & nasty. And Hayes fits that same mold perfectly.

The depth OU looks to have heading into not only this season but several to follow is arguably as good as any time in the Stoops era. I’ve said it many times now, but the Bedenbaugh hire is one of the best Bob Stoops has ever made.

In my estimation Marquis Hayes has an elite skillset, and under the guidance of people like Bedenbaugh, Jerry Schmidt, and Coach Tiff, it’s simply a matter of how good Hayes wants to be.


  • Brian says:


    I knew JY would love Hayes’ commitment. So glad we came to our senses and offered the kid.

  • Roger Nixon says:

    Thanks, JY! I love these types of articles.

  • Tony B says:

    Nice write up JY. He definitely has a mean streak and likes to finish the play.

  • ohiosoonerdevildog says:

    Nice write up JY. As the old saying goes the game is won in the trenches. Hopefully Thibodaux can start getting the beef for the middle of our d. But I definitely like how this oline is full of maulers with an attitude.

  • DCinAZ says:

    Looking forward to seeing how our Oline plays this year given this is our first year playing all Bendenbaugh recruits.

  • metzker says:

    Getting big again,love it thanks JY!

  • Scott says:

    Great write up JY , Newman needs to join the SoonerSquad now.

  • Bob Edwards says:

    It must be ratings week at TFB. They’re bringing out the star power. They know that JY will get people to switch form those other sites.

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  • Randy says:

    Need to keep him in the fold, only a matter of time when Mizzou put the pressure on.. And more importantly Alabama comes calling even to a lesser degree Arkansas.

    • Bob Edwards says:

      I don’t know. His recruiting was starting to blow up because of his camp performance. He could have waited a bit and probably had those offers. He accepted the day after we offered. Sounds like OU is where he wants to be.

  • hushnpa says:

    I watched his jr – ” man among boys ” – highlight film. I did really enjoy how he literally ‘launched’ a couple of guys in that film 🙂 but wasn’t sure what level of competition he was facing .
    Then I saw a Oklahoma drill with him facing some top guys at one of those big recruit camps
    ( sorry I’m not sure which one – link help requested ) and
    He was stymieing the Best there ,, strong , fast , strong and fast , didn’t matter ..

  • Farmer Glickstein says:

    I believe Maquis Hayes really wants to be elite and chose Oklahoma because of their history of producing such.

  • SoonerGray says:

    This is the kind of ringing endorsement I love to read. Great news! Thanks for the write up JY.

  • Dick Bump says:

    Good read.

  • Dd992emo says:

    If you can find some old film on Orlando Pace, check it out. This kid reminds me of him.

  • Birddawg says:

    Thanks JY
    Great write up.

  • Golfluvr13 says:

    Awesome read JY! Thank you.

  • hOUligan says:

    Awesome way to start my day and the week, a JY appearance. Hayes passes the eye test from the vid I saw but now has the JY stamp of approval.

  • CrimsonNative says:

    Good one JY. The fact that you took the time to write about this kid, tell me how much you like his abilities. You haven’t done that in a while so, it speaks volumes.

  • Boom says:

    When I see his picture, I just see a very young kid. This is not meant as a negative but more in a positive light. My point is, when I see someone like him who looks so young it tells me he has a high ceiling and is still raw. As JY said, he has nimble feet which you can’t teach. Versatile with a high ceiling, what’s not to like.

  • BigJoeBrown says:

    Thanks JY, a great write up. Really great to hear your perspective/wisdom!

  • Doobie74OU says:

    Most of the time it begins and ends with the “Big Uglies” up front on offense and defense! And I couldn’t agree more about that Sugar Bowl game. Still amazing how many guys moved around and we were still able to play extremely well. Thanks for the breakdown JY!

    • RocketCitySooner says:

      I remember watching OU play UCLA in, I believe, 1986. At one point, the announcer said: “This game has become a belly bumping contest between the offensive and defensive lines. OU’s Big Uglies have the biggest bellies so they’re going to win this game.”

  • SWoods says:

    Thanks for the write up JY, we appreciate your thoughts.

  • Sooner Ray says:

    Great stuff JY.

  • R@z0rb says:

    Great dope JY!

  • Exiled In Ohio says:

    Thanks JY! Great to hear from you.

  • Ed Cotter says:

    Thanks for your perspective on Hayes, JY. Can’t wait to see Hayes manhandle those poor DTs in a few years. Bedenbaugh just keeps putting in work.

  • j l says:

    Thanks for bringing these back, one of my favorite types of articles!

  • JB says:

    I like this commitment. Bronson Irwin wasn’t who came to my mind first when it came to OL versatility, but another player who was very important for our national championship run, Bubba Burcham.

  • Sacramento Sooner says:

    Great stuff JY! Love the insight on the big boys. Glad you feel the way you do for our O-line. We’ve struggled on both sides of the trench since 2008. Looks like we’re finally getting back to where we need to be. Glad to hear your outlook on the future. Boomer!

  • RocketCitySooner says:

    I wish someone would define ‘length’. Is that just height or is it vertical reach with arms extended or something else?

    • Birddawg says:

      Wingspan. 6’5 Guard is perfect.
      Gives an edge in locking up.
      If a player has a great base and a wingspan you get more weight on the defensive player first before he can.
      Keeps him off balance and drive him in the dirt.
      Or Pass pro,
      base, kick slide, paired with his longer arms gives him a reach advantage “punch” the defensive rusher.. all important.
      Shorter arm guards “catch” and lose balance/leverage..

  • PLAW0720 says:

    Can’t get enough of JY – we need/want at least a semi-weekly post! Bring it big fella!

  • Cush Creekmont says:

    Late to your info JY – great as always! I liked the point about Mr. Hayes length. If he gets inside with shorter DLs, he can keep them out with his arms.