Hayes Sutton is not a known commodity in the 2019 recruiting class just yet, but with his strong start to his senior year, there should be more colleges knocking down his door. The senior receiver has been a favorite target of Norcross QB Louis Williams in the early going. After having good games against both Mill Creek (6 receptions for 85 yards) and Mays (2 receptions for 52 yards), Hayes was looking to keep the ball rolling against top-ranked North Gwinnett.
Going against one of the best defensive secondaries in the state of Georgia, Sutton made one of the best catches of the season. The senior receiver ran a quick little slant route down the middle of the field, but the pass was too high, at least so it seemed initially. What should have been an incomplete pass, turned into an amazing one-handed catch, where Hayes made full extension at the apex of his jump before coming down with the football.
It was a snag straight out of an Odel Beckham Jr. highlight reel, and earned him Week 4’s Top Play in the state of Georgia with over 12,000 votes in about 28 hours, so great support by the Norcross community.
Outside of “The Catch”, Sutton was extremely productive running crisp short routes down field and converting first downs – a skill demonstrated frequently in his early senior film above. Through 3 games, Sutton has 175 yards receiving and 12 receptions, which averages out to 14.6 yards per catch. Not too shabby for a player who played varsity sparingly his junior year, but this season against two perennial top 10 teams in 7-A he has combined for over 100 yards.
So the obvious question is what did Hayes Sutton do to improve his game this offseason?
“I think the most improved part of my game has been my speed,” Sutton said. “This summer I focused a lot on getting faster and mainly the 40 yard dash, because I know how important it is to every aspect of my game.”
No doubt, Sutton looks a whole lot quicker releasing up field in his senior film, and he has done a great job of finding gaps in the defensive secondary. His consistent hands, and crisp route running looks very similar to the player he models his game after.
“I model my game after Jordy Nelson, because I try and focus on having excellent footwork, running great routes, and catching everything thrown my way.”
Currently, Sutton has an offer from Centre College, a Div III school in Kentucky, and has also been hearing from a handful of schools outside of them, as well. “Mostly high academic schools at the moment, although I’m willing to play anywhere,” Sutton added.
Sutton is a good route runner for sure, and you can tell that has been an area of focus over the last year. Teams have tried to press him at the line of scrimmage, but at 6′, and right at 200 lbs., Sutton is not an easy player to play physical with. He also shows good toughness holding onto the football in heavy traffic, even when the defender unloads a big hit, Sutton shows reliable hands.
Right now, the senior does not have any college visits planned, but undoubtedly that will change as we progress into the fall. If he continues his current pace, the sure-handed senior is on track to catch about 600 yards receiving on the season.
After starting the season off with a victory against Mays in the Corky Kell Classic at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Norcross has lost two in a row to both Mill Creek and North Gwinnett. The senior, still unwavering, has championship aspirations for his squad.
“My ultimate goal for my senior year is to help my team win a state championship,” he stated.
With Archer next on the schedule for the Blue Devils, that will be no easy task, but certainly there will be plenty more opportunities for the senior to prove himself against elite football recruits. After Archer, Norcross gets into the meat of their football schedule, which could potentially lead to some bigger games for the senior too, so stay tuned to @RecruitGeorgia on Twitter to hear the latest on Hayes Sutton, and the rest of the Peach State athletes across the state.