Marcus Hayes recently left Kansas State’s football program.
A defensive back transfer from New Mexico, Hayes joined the Wildcats as a member of their 2019 signing class. He had petitioned the NCAA for a waiver to be eligible to play immediately, but it was denied during the summer. Now, Hayes no longer is playing football.
During Chris Klieman’s weekly press conference Tuesday, K-State’s head coach said Hayes simply “decided to go in a different direction” with his life.
“That’s his right,” Klieman said. “And I didn’t agree with him, because I really enjoy Marcus. But you have to love the game to do it. And I appreciate him being honest with me. And that’s ... this game’s hard for a lot of guys. And so I have nothing bad to say against Marcus Hayes at all. I think he’s a wonderful kid.”
Though Hayes was sitting out this year to satisfy the NCAA’s transfer rules, he was set to provide depth in the K-State secondary and on special teams in 2020 and beyond.
Hayes’ college career started at New Mexico. He redshirted as a freshman in 2017 before becoming a key player for the Lobos last season, appearing in 12 games with nine starts at safety.
Hayes recorded 51 tackles (1.5 for loss) to go along with two interceptions and five pass breakups last season. He also forced a fumble and recovered one. His best outing as a defender came against Wisconsin, when he tallied a career high 10 tackles. Both of his picks came against in-state rival New Mexico State, returning one for a touchdown.
Yet Hayes arguably was even better in the return game, earning freshman All-America honors after leading the nation in yards per return at 21.2.
Hayes scored on an 86-yard punt return against Boise State, which tied for the longest in school history and tied for fifth longest among FBS players in games played prior to the bowl season.