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January 8, 2008

Hayes declares for the NFL draft

It has been suspected for a couple months, but it finally became official this week.

Florida State linebacker Geno Hayes has decided to bypass his senior season and declare for the NFL draft.

Madison County head football coach Frankie Carroll, who coached Hayes in high school, spoke with the junior linebacker on Tuesday. Hayes informed him that he was no longer attending classes at FSU and was currently at a training facility in Ft. Lauderdale. He also confirmed that he was leaving school and was declaring for April's NFL draft.

The junior linebacker from Greenville (Fla.) informed FSU head coach Bobby Bowden on Monday of his intentions to leave school early.

Hayes finished his junior season second on the team in total tackles with 94 and was first in tackles for loss with 17.5. He also had one interception, three pass break-ups, and forced two fumbles.

If Dekoda Watson and Marcus Ball are unavailable for the next 2.6 games under the agreed upon suspension arrangement, Hayes' early departure will leave FSU very thin at linebacker for the start of the 2008 season. Derek Nicholson, who started all 13 games at middle linebacker this past season, could be the only returning linebacker with significant experience.

In addition to Hayes, Letroy Guion's step-father Robert Bellamy told Warchant.com on Monday that his son is leaning to declaring for the NFL draft.

Players have until Thursday at midnight to enroll in school and the last date for underclassmen to declare for the NFL draft is Tuesday, January 15th.


Statements released by FSU on Wednesday morning:

STATEMENT FROM LINEBACKER GENO HAYES
I would like to announce my decision to leave Florida State University and enter the 2008 NFL Draft. This has been the toughest decision I have ever had to make. I would first like to thank Coach Bowden and Coach Amato and the rest of the coaching staff for giving me all the tools I needed to become a great football player. I would also like to thank my teammates, fellow FSU students and fans for supporting me and most of all, my family for always showing me love, guidance and support.

QUOTE FROM FSU HEAD COACH BOBBY BOWDEN
"It doesn't surprise me that Geno decided to go to the NFL. I know he has the ability to play at that level. It is just a matter of time. I wish him the best of luck. We will miss him."

Lee Gordon contributed to this story


Gene WilliamsGene Williams is the founder and administrator of Warchant.com and writes stories and features covering all of FSU's sports with an emphasis on football and football recruiting. During past football seasons, he hosted a weekly sports radio show in Tallahassee, and appears as a weekly guest on 1010 XL Radio in Jacksonville (4:40 pm on Tuesdays) and 1270 The Team in Tallahassee (4:05 pm on Thursdays) during the football season. Williams is also a former ACC correspondent for College Football News (weekly national newspaper), and contributes to The Osceola. Story about Gene Williams & Warchant.com.

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