McQueen High running back Ashton Hayes has verbally committed to the Nebraska football team after an official visit to the campus last weekend, Lancers coach Jim Snelling told Nevada Sports Net's Shannon Kelly on Thursday.
Hayes, a rising senior, is one of the top prospects in Northern Nevada history. 247Sports.com rates him as a three-star prospect and the No. 32 running back in the 2022 class. He's the No. 488 national recruit in his class, per the 247Sports composite rankings.
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Hayes has been a varsity player since his freshman year when he rushed for 569 yards on 48 carries (11.9 yards per carry) and scored five touchdowns for Damonte Ranch. As a sophomore, Hayes was named the Northern 4A offensive player of the year after leading the state in rushing. Hayes had a spectacular season, rushing for 2,429 yards, 8.9 yards per carry and 30 touchdowns in 2019. He also caught 28 passes for 346 yards and two touchdowns.
Hayes transferred from Damonte Ranch to McQueen prior to his junior season, citing financial reasons. In a truncated 2021 spring season due to COVID-19, Hayes rushed for 607 yards (5.3 yards per carry) and seven touchdowns in five games. After a slow start at his new school, Hayes finished the year with three straight 100-yard games, including a 223-yard, four-touchdown effort in the regular-season finale against Reno.
Nevada was the first school to offer Hayes a scholarship. He later reeled in offers from Cal, Stanford, Arizona, UNLV, Oregon State, San Diego State, San Jose State, Utah, Fresno State, Hawaii and Dartmouth, among others.
In addition to this trip to Nebraska, Hayes also took an official visit to Cal and unofficial trips to Oregon and Oregon State. He told Nebraska's Rivals site his visit to Lincoln was outstanding.
“For me, personally, I would rate the trip a '10',” Hayes told Husker Online. “I was very impressed. It definitely beat my expectations, not saying that expectations were low by any means. After going to Cal last weekend, I know how official visits work and go. Comparing the two, Nebraska did a lot of things better. Cal was a really strong visit for me, too. So, for Nebraska to one-up that was going to be hard to do, but they did it. These two schools are pretty high on the list for me.”
Nebraska is led by fourth-year coach Scott Frost, who is 12-20 overall and 9-17 in the Big 10 in his first three seasons. He went 19-7 in two years at UCF, including a 13-0 season in 2017. Verbal commitments are not binding. Hayes can sign his official letter-of-intent in the early-signing period in December.
Hayes is part of a loaded local 2022 football recruiting class, which includes McQueen teammate Robby Snelling, a four-star recruit as an athlete; Bishop Mangoue's Sioape Vatikani, a three-star offensive linemen with several Power 5 offers; Douglas High linebacker Christopher Smalley, who has offers from Nevada, Fresno State, Army and Air Force; and three-star Bishop Manogue defensive lineman Malcolm McClure.