FARGO — There wasn’t any real urgency for Nathan Hayes to make a verbal commitment to any particular college this summer. North Dakota State made him think otherwise.
The Bison got their quarterback for the signing day class of 2022. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Hayes, from St. Charles, Ill., gave NDSU his word this week. Give a big assist to the outstanding run of recent Bison quarterbacks and associate head coach Randy Hedberg, who coaches the QBs.
“Absolutely, that played a big factor when I was up there,” Hayes said. “I got a good feel for the coaches and it was really good to see what they teach on the field.”
The three most recent quarterbacks that were drafted — Carson Wentz, Easton Stick and Trey Lance — were all mentored by Hedberg. Hayes said his ultimate dream is to reach the NFL.
“And NDSU’s reputation is the best opportunity for me,” he said.
Hayes attended the Bison summer football camp in June, saying Hedberg corrected some of his bad throws by first working with his feet.
“Just little minor corrections he made,” Hayes said. “I was able to see a world of difference. And the style of offense that they run is really suitable to get you ready for the NFL.”
Hayes also had offers from Indiana State of the Missouri Valley Football Conference and Eastern Illinois of the Ohio Valley Conference. He had other options in baseball as a pitcher with a fastball clocked in the low 90s mph. He had multiple conversations with the University of Kentucky and had an offer from St. Louis University. Indiana State offered him for both sports.
“But I’ve kind of gravitated toward football in the past year,” Hayes said, “and started dedicating myself to football.”
The first contact with NDSU was back in September with NDSU assistant coach David Braun. That continued over the winter and into the spring, with the state of Illinois postponing its fall season to the spring.
It appears his appearance at the Bison camp helped seal the deal.
“I built a really good relationship with them,” Hayes said.
NDSU heads into fall camp with three quarterbacks on its roster: sophomore Quincy Patterson and freshmen Cam Miller and Cole Payton. Miller will still be a true freshman after playing last spring and Payton is a freshman recruit from Omaha, Neb.