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’28 WR/DB seemingly sure to see early PT for the Storm in ’24

Kaijain “KJ” Hayes is a 6’1,” 160-pound, rising freshman, will report to camp in Morton’s Gap differently from other run of the mill, first-year players. First of all, Hayes is the reigning KYMSFA (Kentucky Middle School Football Association), Region 1, Division 1, Player of the Year. Secondly, Hayes runs a 4.8-second, 40-yard dash; carries a 3.6-GPA; and registered close to a thousand yards receiving and nine-tackles a game a year ago as an 8th-grader. Not a ton of rising 9th-graders can say all of that. Where does he figure to start off his HS career? The two-deep on the roster would be our guess.

HB Lyon, Scouting Director, KPGFootball
“Bear Bowl,” Photo: csmith@the-messenger.com

KJ Hayes Hudl

His given name is “Kaijain.” Everyone around the football world, particularly Hopkins County, calls him “KJ.”

That isn’t all they call the reigning KYMSFA (Kentucky Middle School Football Association), Region 1, Division 1, Player of the Year. They also call him “very likely” to be in the starting lineup before his freshman campaign should expire.

KJ Hayes ain’t no ordinary Freshman. He is 6’1,” weighs 160-pounds, and has already registered a 4.8-second, hand-timed 40-yard dash. Hayes carries a 3.6-GPA.

Hayes has really good ball skills,…a natural nose for the football, really good hands, and is a hard nosed kid who plays the game the right way…

Tyrone Gregory, HFC, Browning Springs Middle

Hayes had quite a middle school career playing for one of the Storm’s main feeder programs. “He was our leading receiver in 7th-grade,” Coach Tyrone Gregory told KPGFootball.

“[KJ] Hayes has really good ball skills,” Gregory continued. “Hayes has a natural nose for the football, really good hands, and is a hard nosed kid who plays the game the right way.”

Gregory summed it up with, “Hayes is a hard worker with an extremely bright future.” Coach Manning has apparently read the press clippings.

“You hate to get too excited about a rising 9th-grader,” Manning told KPGFootball. “That said, not all 9th-graders are similarly constructed. We can’t ignore adding talent to the roster the KYMSFA selected its best MS player in an entire region at its largest division of competition.”

He [KJ Hayes] certainly has the athletic skill set to be an early contributor

Chris Manning, Head Football Coach, Hopkins County Central High

“He certainly passes the eye test. He certainly has the athletic skill set to be an early contributor. Post graduation, the opportunity is there.”

As for middle school production, we are told Hayes played on both sides of the ball in middle school. Hayes rushed for 190-yards and registered nearly a thousand (965) yards receiving a year ago.

He played defense too. According to Coach Gregory, Hayes averaged nine tackles a game.

So, it appears the question isn’t whether he will play over the course of his 9th-grade year. The question may be how quickly and how much.

That is good news, that a pipeline like this exists. Give ’em Hell, KJ.

This is “Friday Night Fletch,” reporting for KPGFootball, reminding you to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!

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About Fletcher Long 1510 Articles
Two-time winner of Kentucky Press Association awards for excellence in writing and reporting news stories while Managing Editor of the Jackson (KY) Times-Voice

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