Hayes gets to prove himself at Classic

At the end of last season, FAMU senior quarterback Reggie Hayes was slated to be the starter for this season, since Quinn Gray graduated and went on to the NFL. But in December, Hayes found out that Casey Printers was going to transfer from Texas Christian to FAMU.

Hayes continued to train and work hard in the off-season, even when it was announced before spring practice that Printers was going to be the starter this season.

“I had to accept my role as the backup,” Hayes said. “I just do what I have to do when I am in [the game], and support Casey when he’s in [the game].”

Now, with Printers out for the rest of the season with a broken thumb, Hayes is about to play in the biggest game of his college career. It may be his last, depending on the outcome.

“I’m ready. Let’s play,” Hayes said.

Hayes has played in more games this season (10) than Printers (eight), who has battled injury after injury all year, shortening his already small stint with the Rattlers. Earlier in the season, Hayes filled in for Printers, who went down with an ankle injury for two games and won both starts.

From there, he and Printers split time, while the coaches remained cautious with Printers’ ankle.

Two weeks ago in a game against Troy State, Printers broke the thumb on his throwing hand, and all of sudden, it’s Hayes’ team again. This time it’s for good.

“We all have confidence in Reggie’s ability,” receiver Charlie Allen said. “He can make big plays with his arm and his feet. He gives the offense that extra dimension.”

Hayes has played very well in relief of Printers this year, going 2-1 as a starter. He has accounted for 18 total touchdowns and is second on the team in rushing yards.

Hayes is definitely a change of pace from Printers, almost similar to a power running back and a finesse back, with Hayes being the power guy. Printers used his accuracy to beat defenses, even though he could scramble out of the pocket. Hayes may not be as accurate as Printers, but what he lacks in precision, he makes up for in mobility.

“Reggie has excellent running skills,” FAMU coach Billy Joe said. “He’s quick, fast, and can make you miss. He’s worked hard in the off-season on his passing technique. Once he gets that down, he’ll really be great.”