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FOOTBALL RECRUITING: Pair of anchors on the line accept D1 scholarships, Hayes picks Pitt, Doyle to WMU

   | Scott Burnstein

FOOTBALL RECRUITING: Pair of anchors on the line accept D1 scholarships, Hayes picks Pitt, Doyle to WMU

This past week has been a “Big and Tall” one.

Not the extra-sized clothing store kind, the extra-sized linemen kind.

Traverse City West’s Connor Hayes and Alma’s Curtis Doyle, two of the state’s best offensive lineman in the Class of 2014 (three-star recruits), committed to Division I colleges this week, with Hayes committing to Pittsburgh and Doyle pledging his allegiance to Western Michigan.

Both Hayes (6-foot-5, 290 pounds) and Doyle (6-foot-6, 305 pounds) are tackles and excel at protecting against the pass rush.

Hayes will be a fourth-year starter in the trenches this fall. He had eight scholarship offers, including three from BCS schools.

Doyle chose Western Michigan over an offer from Central Michigan. As a sophomore, he helped guide Alma to a district championship.

In his three years as a starter on the line so far, Hayes has helped lead Traverse City West to a pair of playoff appearances.

The state's Class of 2014 has produced 18 Division I commits since the start of the year.

Pittsburgh went 6-7 in 2012 under first-year head coach Paul Cryst. The Panthers are moving from the Big East to the Atlantic Coast Conference for the upcoming season. Since assuming the reins with the Panthers in December 2011, Cryst, who came to the program after being the offensive coordinator at Wisconsin, has been trying to take advantage of his ties in the Midwest. Him and his staff have been recruiting the state of Michigan very hard and Hayes’ commitment is the fruits of that labor.

Grand Blanc’s Luke MacLean (linebacker), a top in-state recruit in the Class of 2013, is on his way to Pittsburgh in a few short months.

Western Michigan finished 4-8 last season and have changed head coaches. Former Rutgers assistant and NFL wide receivers coach (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) P.J. Fleck accepted the Broncos job late last year and has been off to an outstanding opening few months on the recruiting trail. Earlier this week, Fleck snatched a commitment from defensive end Kenneth Finley (Muskegon). Just last week, Sturgis quarterback Chance Stewart, a previous Big 10 recruit, recently de-committed from Wisconsin, and Troy Athens tight end Lucas Bezerra, came on board.