It took a while, but Florida State finally pulled the trigger and offered a scholarship to Madison County standout Eugene "Geno" Hayes. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound linebacker had already racked up over 20 offers including invitations to play football for Oklahoma, Georgia, LSU, and N.C. State. But on Wednesday he made an unofficial visit to FSU and got word that and offer to play for the Seminoles was waiting for him.
Madison County head coach Frankie Carroll was uncertain of whether a scholarship had been officially tendered, but assistant coach Mike Coe, who accompanied Hayes to FSU, confirmed the offer with Warchant.com.
Last season Hayes posted an impressive 18 and 1/2 sacks last season for the 2A runners-up. He also lead the Cowboys with 130 tackles (20 for loss) and three interceptions while splitting time between defensive end and linebacker. He projects as an outside linebacker in college.
"Geno is a tremendous athlete and a great kid," Coach Carroll said. "He works hard in the weight room and is really strong, fast and loves to play the game."
The Florida50 member recently put on a show at in a spring exhibition game when Madison County matched up against 5A state champion Daytona Beach Mainland. Shortly after stepping on the field, Hayes intercepted a pass, fought off a player hanging on his face-mask, then proceeded to break four more tackles on way to a 42-yard interception return. If that wasn't enough he racked up two sacks, another tackle for loss, and had nine total tackles in three quarters of play. He also laid a devastating hit on a defender that allowed a long punt return that effectively put the game away for Madison.
After putting his impressive performance, Mainland head coach John Moronto compared Hayes to former high school All-American and current Seminole linebacker Ernie Sims.
Hayes did not commit during his unofficial visit, but will return to Florida State in the near future to meet with head coach Bobby Bowden, who was out of town on Wednesday.