Isaiah Buggs ranks as the nation’s No. 1 junior college defensive tackle for this year. He’s also the No. 4 overall prospect in the JUCO ranks.
The 6-foot-5, 280-pound prospect should choose Alabama, Auburn or LSU on Wednesday.
He’s a bad dude.
That description of Buggs helps to convey what Georgia is getting in new offensive tackle pledge D’Marcus Hayes. Hayes committed to Georgia on Monday afternoon.
Buggs can serve as a 6-foot-5 measuring stick for Hayes. That’s because Hayes will have to deal with bad dudes like Buggs every snap in the SEC.
If the 3-star rating for Hayes doesn’t cut it for everyone out there, then there’s this.
Hayes is rated as the nation’s No. 2 junior college offensive tackle for this signing cycle. He will enroll early at UGA. (Kerry Bass/ Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College)
When Buggs matched up with Hayes at Gulf Coast Community College, the result was often a stalemate. They had some battles. Every day.
“Those were big battles every day,” Mississippi Gulf Coast head coach Chad Huff said. “I think D’Marcus got better every day because he was going against Isaiah. They’d line up every day in spring ball and during camp. That’s who he was going against. I think they made each other a lot better. It was great for both of them.”
That’s good news for Georgia fans hoping Hayes can play right away for Kirby Smart and line coach Sam Pittman in Athens.
Georgia’s two primary starting tackles from last season will exhaust their eligibility after the Liberty Bowl in Memphis.
Hayes ranks as the nation’s No. 2 JUCO offensive tackle and can hold his own while facing the top-rated defensive tackle.
Huff estimated that Hayes now weighs right at 315 pounds. He felt the 6-foot-5 prospect will be able to line up at left tackle.
“He has the footwork and athleticism to be a left tackle right away,” Huff said. “He needs to continue to build on his upper-body strength and continue to develop every day. He knows that. He’s got the potential to be a really good left tackle.”
Hayes will be able to enroll at Georgia in January. (Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College)
The head coach at MGCCC also made mention of his off-the-field demeanor.
“Very good kid,” Huff said. “Comes from a great family. They are in Jackson in Madison in Mississippi. He’s got a bright future and I’m excited for the opportunities he is getting. They are well-deserved. He’s been a tremendous kid for us the last two years.”
He also relayed what the Bulldogs told him they see in Hayes.
“They like his overall athleticism,” Huff said. “They also bring up his potential and feel his best football is still ahead of him. They tell me they just don’t see kids like that with the athleticism that he has.”
The recipe is simple. If Hayes works and makes the necessary strides in the weight room over the next six months, the results will be there.
“If he gives them some great work in the weight room, then I think he will then have everything he needs to play well right away in the SEC,” Huff said.
He brought up former Mississippi Gulf Coast product Martinas Rankins as a player parallel. Rankins was rated as the nation’s top junior college lineman for 2015.
“He’s a little bigger,” Huff said. “I think Rankins was a little stronger, but I think on the upside D’Marcus is a little heavier. D’Marcus came to us big enough to play tackle where the Rankins kid came in around 275-280 pounds and had to work to get the weight he needed to put on.
Huff said that Hayes has three years to play two seasons at Georgia. He will graduate in December and enroll in January.