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Akeem Hayes feels great about Kentucky's future under Mark Stoops

Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade Madonna receiver Akeem Hayes is about as rock solid as football commitments come in 2017. That earlier commitment to Louisville? It almost seems like it was another lifetime. Since flipping to Kentucky after visiting Lexington this summer, Hayes has been as all-in and enthusiastic about the Cats' future as any member of the program's 2018 recruiting class.



He wasn't thrilled with the outcome of Kentucky's game against Mississippi State last weekend, but he saw it as something almost every team experiences and has no doubt the team and the staff will right the ship.

"Of course, every team goes through stuff like that," Hayes told Cats Illustrated this week. "It just depends on how you bounce back from it. We took a tough loss but now it depends on how the players come back and play this week. That's what it comes down to.

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"This weekend, Kentucky-Tennessee, we're coming back in that game. We had a tough loss but they're trying to get rid of that bad taste. I know for a fact, 100-percent, we're going to beat Tennessee."

Hayes participated in a camp at Kentucky over the summer, but he missed the start of his high school football season with an injured collarbone. When he returned to action early in the season he took a screen pass to the house for a touchdown.

Chaminade Madonna had a rough start to their 2017 season, but they have won four games in a row and now sit at 5-2 on the back half of their regular season schedule.

"We're playing at a high level, at a good tempo. At the beginning of the season we had a few injured players and we weren't on the same page. But after that, we got on the same page and got a lot more guys healthy.

"As far as me, I know I can contribute more to my team. I'm just trying to help out however I can, either help my team get down in the red zone or make a big play here or there. Coming off that injury, I knew it was going to be kind of scary falling on it again or whatever, but after that first contact I didn't feel no pain. So I'm good."

One of the reasons Kentucky was initially appealing to Hayes is the opportunity for playing time with several receivers set to leave the program in the next year or two.

"Juice," Hayes said. "Garrett Johnson, I have plans on going up there and filling in his shoes when he goes off and gets drafted."

All of Kentucky's coaches are staying in contact with Hayes, the receiver told Cats Illustrated, but he hears from offensive coordinator Eddie Gran and receivers coach Lamar Thomas, the Cats' two South Florida recruiters, more than anyone else. Mark Stoops reaches out a good amount, too.

Hayes told Cats Illustrated that all three of Kentucky's 2018 commitments at Chaminade Madonna - he, Davoan Hawkins and Marvin Alexander - will take their official visits to Kentucky the weekend of December 15.