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Tracking the Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Thursday, September 25, 2008

By Sammy Batten

THUMBNAILS:  2006  •  2007  •  2008  •  2009

ECU O-line gaining more stature

By Sammy Batten
All rights reserved.

Recruiting Links

BVL: Pirate Football Recruiting Thumbnails
Batten: ECU O-line gaining more stature
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Batten: Wayne destined for Pirates' RB corps
Batten: There's no place like home for Booth
Batten: Mom's motivation pays off for Price
Batten: Simmons savors war in the trenches
Batten: Terry evokes déjà vu for coach
Batten: Pirates lure Georgia "bone crusher"
Batten: Lexington LB steeped in football
Batten: ECU's football culture impressed QB
Batten: ECU recruiting effort picks up speed
Batten: Cumberland Co. pipeline still flowing
Batten: '09 recruiting starts with lithe lineman


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Max Hay wasn't able to play football until he reached the fifth grade because of his size. But that physical characteristic is considered an admirable trait these days, especially to the coaching staff at East Carolina University.

The Pirates offered Hay a scholarship last summer and he accepted almost immediately to become part of the Recruiting Class of 2009.

Hay is a two-way lineman at Burlington City High School in Burlington, NJ. He stands an imposing 6-foot-7 and weighs in at about 310 pounds.

“I guess I've always been the big one in my family,'' Hay said. “I wasn't able to play football until the fifth grade because I could never make the weight (limit). So I had to wait.

“Finally, in the fifth grade I got a chance. But my first year out there I was getting killed. But I finally learned to play that game a little better and started becoming good at it.''

Hay hails from an athletic family. His father played football in high school and his older brother, Chris, is a former Burlington City High linebacker.

Burlington City's veteran head coach Tim Reardon was already aware of Max when he arrived at the high school as a ninth grader because he had also coached Chris.

“He was a pretty big kid, even in the seventh and eighth grades,'' Reardon said. “He was big and raw when he came to us, but he was very strong. We knew he definitely had the potential, based on size alone, to be a college football player. But he also worked very hard at it. You could really see him start to blossom his junior season.''

Hay would play for the junior varsity squad as a freshman before earning a starting job on the varsity the following season at offensive tackle. His duties doubled last year when Reardon began playing him at defensive tackle as well. Hay's performance in 2007 earned him all-division honors.

It was last spring following Hay's junior season that the East Carolina coaching staff began contacting Reardon.

“They've been active in this area and they've been through our school before, but we didn't have any kids then,'' Reardon said. “But they called about Max. He knew a little about them because he's pretty much up on college football. But with the Internet and everything now, I think he was able to get a lot more information on them.

“And I think he liked what he learned.''

Hay learned enough to want to make a trip to Greenville in July for an unofficial visit to the East Carolina campus. He was so intrigued by what he saw and heard that he made a verbal commitment soon after departing.

“It was a great campus, sort of out in the middle of nowhere,'' Hay said. “There's nothing really around it. It seemed like a great place to concentrate on school and football ... better than any of the other places I've been to.

“I received my offer on the day I went to campus. I called them back about 20 minutes or a half hour after we left and let them know East Carolina was where I wanted to go to college.''

Hay committed to the Pirates before their incredible start to the 2007 season, and was more enthused than many after watching them upset nationally ranked Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

“I was so surprised,'' he said. “I knew they had a good team, but I didn't know they were going to be that good. But that's even better for me. It just shows me I made the right decision.''

The Pirates have recruited Hay to play offensive tackle, a position Reardon said he's become dominant playing in high school.

“We played our opener in a pouring rain about two weeks ago,'' Reardon said. “We're not very good on the left side of the line and everybody in the world knew we were going to go right over Max on the right side.

“Well, we took the ball on the 20-yard line on one series and went 80 yards in for a touchdown. We ran every single play right over him.''

Hay hopes to someday soon be using those same skills to help win games at ECU.

“I personally think of myself as a great pass blocker. That's my specialty,'' he said. “I'm pretty good at run blocking, too. I'm sure once I get there the coaching staff will only make me a better player.

"I can't wait to get there and hopefully help them continue the great tradition they're establishing now.''

Send an e-mail message to Sammy Batten.

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09/25/2008 02:55:43 AM


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