Last season, the Oklahoma O-line was the catalyst for all its offensive success. The position group really settled in after the Ohio State game and helped the team go on a tear.
What’s better, most of the line still has a couple of college years left. But the Sooners are still looking ahead, and the signing of Marquis Hayes out of Maryland Heights, MO will go a long way towards locking down the line’s interior for years to come.
Hayes, a high school tackle who’s expected to slide over to a guard spot, is the largest of the Oklahoma O-line commits at 6-5 and 315 pounds. In fact, that size makes him comparable with the best linemen on OU’s roster already.
Hayes really came to OU’s attention when he went toe-to-toe with big ol’ Marvin Wilson at the Rivals 5-Star Challenge last year. The Sooners offered him, and it didn’t take long at all for him to commit. Missouri may not be traditional SEC territory, but it’s still uncommon for Oklahoma to pick up a state’s best recruit that far east. Hayes is a big get for the Sooners, but feels like just another piece in this standout class.
How does he fit in?
There’s not a huge path to playing time for Hayes in 2017 — he might look at redshirting. After that, though, the O-line competition is fair game for the physically imposing Hayes. He’s already bigger than Dru Samia and Alex Dalton.
Hayes has an incredible motor, and he’ll wear out interior D-linemen with his intense and consistent blocking. Perhaps the biggest concern from him will be avoiding penalties. Hayes can’t grab fistfuls of jersey at the college level, and he has an Orlando Brown-type edge to his play. Hopefully he can channel that aggression into exemplary legal play.
He’s also a little raw from a technique standpoint, as he was big enough to overpower his Missouri competition. But again, he’ll have plenty of time to iron that out. Hayes isn’t a guaranteed future draft pick, or even consistent starter. But he has maybe the highest ceiling of this class of O-linemen.