WSSU's William Hayes Drafted By Tennessee Titans In Fourth Round; 103rd Overall

April 27, 2008







WINSTON-SALEM, NC - Winston-Salem State University's William Hayes knew that the long wait was over when the phone rang Sunday morning.  On the other end of the phone line was a team official for the National Football League's Tennessee Titans who informed William that he would be the 103rd overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.


Hayes, a defensive end who closed out a stellar career for the Rams of Winston-Salem State University this past season, became the first player to get drafted since Richard Huntley was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the third round of the 1996 NFL Draft (117th overall).


A 6'2", 260-pound defensive end from High Point, North Carolina, Hayes played in 29 games for the Rams in his career with 24 starts. 


He closed out his senior season at WSSU with 78 total tackles (46 solo tackles), 19 for loss, with a team-high 8.5 sacks.  Hayes, a terror for opposing offenses, forced seven fumbles and returned two of his team-high four fumble recoveries for touchdowns, the only touchdowns of his career.


The drafting of William Hayes marks the first time in the 15-year career of Winston-Salem State University head coach, Kermit Blount that a player he recruited has been taken in the NFL Draft.


"Personally, I am really happy for him and his family.  Professionally it is a great honor for the university to have a guy move beyond the collegiate level and get to showcase his skills in the National Football League" Blount said.


"William, without a shadow of a doubt, can play and contribute in the NFL.  He is a player that has done so much for our program throughout his career and this is just another positive contribution that he has made to WSSU football as his being drafted will help our future recruiting efforts and help to generate even more media attention to the positive direction that we are taking our program here at Winston-Salem State."


The Titans, one of a trio of NFL teams that were interested in drafting Hayes, the Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars being the other two teams expressing interest in Hayes' services, traded their fifth-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft (157th overall) to the Washington Redskins in order to move up to the 103rd overall pick to take Hayes with the fourth pick in the fourth round.


"What we did was trade this year's five to Washington to move up from 124 up to 103 and that got us in position to have an opportunity to draft William [Hayes]" Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher commented.


"We had William in, looked at William.  The entire scouting staff looked at William over the last couple of days with the coaches and there was a lot of interest out there despite the early reports of what you may have read and so on and so forth.  He was a very fast rising prospect.  We feel like William can come in and help us immediately at the end position.  Despite the fact that he came from a smaller school, he has some skills that are rare -- his hand use, his explosion, his quickness, his effort, his change of direction.  We feel like William can help us right off the bat at the end position."


Hayes joins the Titans, a team that has a storied history drafting talent from NCAA Division I-FCS (formerly I-AA) programs as Tennessee's current roster sports 12 players from NCAA Division I-FCS schools.


An NFL prospect for the past two seasons, Hayes received the call from the Titans after returning home after church on Sunday morning.


"It feels too good right now.  I am real happy.  I feel like I am at home now.  I was just waiting and hoping that I would get a call today.  I knew that teams were interested as I spoke to representatives from Tennessee, the [Indianapolis] Colts and the [Jacksonville] Jaguars.  But nobody showed me as much love as Tennessee.  When I visited there for my workout I really felt like that was the place for me" Hayes said via phone on Sunday afternoon.


The long hours in the gym, the sleepless nights spent watching film and studying the game, the two-a-days in the blistering heat of August, and the pressure to perform may be over for some people, but for William Hayes they will continue.


"I am ready to go to work now.  I am the one to prove the doubters wrong.  You are never going to see me stop working.  Like I said, I am about to get to work right now.  Nothing is going to stop my shine.  I am ready to get down there [to Nashville] and get to work and prove everybody, Mel Kiper, and everybody else that had something negative to say, wrong.  Its time to go to work now.


And with that, William Hayes went off to put in more work, for more hours, in the gym as he continues on his quest to prove the doubters wrong.