Ann Arbor Skyline linebacker Daelin Hayes, considered the top football recruit in Michigan in the class of 2016, has decommitted from USC in the wake of Trojans coach Steve Sarkisian taking an indefinite leave of absence to deal with alcohol issues.
Hayes explained his decision on Twitter on Sunday: “At this time my family and I feel that it is in my best interest to de-commit from the University of Southern California and open up my recruitment process. I’d like to thank the USC Coaching staff for the opportunities that they have placed before me.”
Hayes is rated a five-star prospect by rivals.com, and ranked the No. 13 overall prospect in the country (No. 3 among linebackers).
He reportedly had scholarship offers from Michigan and Michigan State before he committed to the Trojans.
USC athletic director Pat Haden wasn’t specific about the reasons for Sarkisian’s absence, only saying that “it was very clear to me” that the second-year USC coach was unwell. Haden asked Sarkisian to take a leave during a phone conversation.
Sarkisian publicly apologized before the season after he appeared to be intoxicated while making an unsteady public statement at the Salute to Troy pep rally. He announced he would be getting unspecified treatment but didn’t believe he had a drinking problem, blaming his appearance on combining alcohol and medication.
Sarkisian is 12-6 during his short tenure leading the talented Trojans, who were dropped from the AP Top 25 after losing, 17-12, to unranked Washington on Thursday. Sarkisian had been on the road recruiting during the long weekend, but apparently wasn’t in condition to lead practice Sunday, according to Haden.
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The Associated Press contributed.