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As Tyler Hayek earned a spot with Rutgers on the camp circuit, twin brother Hunter waited on his shot.
Sidelined with a groin injury from running track in the spring, Hunter Hayek watched as his brother’s recruitment took off.
“I actually went to that (Rutgers) camp to watch (Tyler), so that was hard, too,” Hunter Hayek said. “But when I was hurt and everything, I just thought to myself, ‘You know what? If Tyler got that scholarship, good for him. I’m proud of him. He’s my twin brother. I’m going to miss a lot of opportunities, definitely, in the summer camps. That’s where a lot of kids pick up the offers.’
“But I just thought to myself, ‘I’ll put in hard work, get better, have my groin be healthy have a monster senior year because it’s all I could do. That’s all I could do.’”
The interest and offers eventually came for Hunter Hayek. But not long after he announced his commitment to Holy Cross, Rutgers called.
Offensive coordinator Jerry Kill offered Hayek a spot as a slot receiver.
“It was definitely a roller coaster,” Hayek said. “I went up Holy Cross and then that Friday, I visited, loved the place, committed because that’s where I was planning on going. Rutgers came in for a home visit later that weekend and they came in with some good news and offered me a scholarship. So, it’s definitely been a crazy ride.
“I always wanted to end up at Rutgers. My brother’s going there, definitely be easy for my family. Now that my friend (Rutgers H-Back commit) Brendan DeVera’s going, it’s just a nice thing to have kids you know and went to high school with going to the same college and playing, have that trust factor and be able to count on some of those guys.”
Hayek instantly clicked with Kill and his plan for him in the offense.
“He told me that they like me at slot receiver, that there’s not a lot of Wes Welkers in this world, so I am one of them, he said,” Hayek said. “He’s just looking for speed, looking for playmakers. Rutgers was lacking a couple of big plays last year and he said, ‘We’re trying to bring in good players.’ He made the final push for me, I think, in the recruiting process because without him there, I think I would be in the same boat, just iffy on where I was going and I trust the man a lot.
“I’m really excited to work with him and learn from his experience, and all of the years he’s coached. Definitely a man that’s really wise, and I’m just really excited to work with him.”
On Signing Day, Rutgers coach Chris Ash said Hayek brings playmaking speed that the offense needs more of.
“Hunter had a tremendous senior season,” Ash said. “You go back and look at his track season and he’s very fast, one of the fastest kids in the State of New Jersey. You look at his senior film and he had a great senior year and again, we’re looking for guys that can make plays with the ball in their hands and really looking at that slot position, a position that Janarion Grant has held. We need guys that can fill that position, and Hunter is able to do that.”
Did Rutgers find a diamond in the rough with a late commitment in slot receiver Hunter Hayek? His Wayne (N.J.) Hills coach Wayne Demikoff certainly thinks so.
If Rutgers needs speed, Wayne (N.J.) Hills coach Wayne Demikoff said the Scarlet Knights found it in the right place with slot receiver Hunter Hayek.
Hayek is the third player coached by Demikoff at Wayne Hills to link up with Rutgers. He joins his brother, Tyler, and teammate Brendan DeVera after his Sunday announcement on Twitter.
“It’s just great,” Demikoff said. “The commitment Rutgers has made in our school and around the state has just been awesome. In the case of Hunter, they’re getting an explosive kid that can flat out run. You can never have too much speed. They’re certainly getting a fast one with him.”
Speed and playmaking is the theme with Hayek, who starred on the track and the gridiron for Wayne Hills.
“The kid is one of the fastest kids in the state,” Demikoff said. “He ran a 10.7 in the 100-meter in track. He gets the ball in open space and it’s a problem. He’s a playmaker in every sense of the word.
“Whether we were throwing him a bubble screen outside or whether he was running a deep ball or crossing pattern, we’ve handed the ball off to him. He’s that type of kid — no matter what you ask him to do, he’s able to do it. He makes plays doing it.”
Hayek flew under the radar after he missed out on the summer camp circuit due to groin injury sustained in the spring. Demikoff said that hurt Hayek’s recruitment, but he bounced back with strong senior season in the fall and Rutgers took notice.
“He pulled his groin last year in track, running that 10.7,” Demikoff said. “So he had to sit out those summer camps. He wasn’t able to compete at all of those different summer camps that the kids go to. That certainly hurt him.
“That’s why a lot of schools, even late, were coming in and saying, ‘Wow, this kid. Where was he in the summer camps?’ So we had to tell them he wasn’t able to compete. But obviously, he healed up perfect from it and just had a great season. So just seeing him go to Rutgers with all of the other kids, it’s just great. Listen, coach Ash said he had wanted to keep kids home and certainly with our school he is.”