Hayes was co-captain of the 1967 Tangerine Bowl and Atlantic Coast College Division championship team. As a fullback, he was the team's most valuable back and most valuable player his senior year.
A celebrated all-around athlete, he signed a grant-in-aid with Ole Miss before transferring to UT Martin. He was invited to play in the North-South All-Star game in Miami and signed with the Denver Broncos in 1968-69, but a severe leg injury prevented him from pursuing a pro football career.
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