MSU S C.J. Hayes enters the transfer portal


MSU wide receiver C.J. Hayes makes a catch in the Spartans’ 51-17 win over Western Michigan in 2019/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Carter Landis, General Assignment Reporter

EAST LANSING, Mich—Michigan State senior defensive back C.J. Hayes has entered the transfer portal as a grad transfer. Hayes is Michigan State’s eighth player to enter his name into the portal and the fourth to do so since the end of the 2021 regular season.

Hayes, a 6-foot-3 safety out of Bowling Green, Kentucky, who converted from wide receiver in the 2021 offseason, committed to the Spartans in January of 2017. He was the No. 1215 overall player in his recruiting class and the No. 6 overall recruit in Kentucky, according to 247Sports.

He initially chose MSU over various other Big Ten schools including Purdue and Illinois.

Hayes redshirted his freshman season before appearing in eight games in 2018 and making his first career reception as a Spartan in a home loss against Northwestern on Oct. 9 that went for 13 yards. 

In 2019, Hayes saw a much larger role on offense, playing in 11 games and making two starts. He finished the season with 13 catches and 141 yards. He did not see any game action in 2020 due to injury and did not see any game action in 2021 either. 

Hayes, a two-year letterwinner and three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, is the fifth defensive back to transfer out of East Lansing, with freshman safety Michael Gravely Jr. announcing his intentions to enter the portal last week. Hayes announced on his Twitter that he will remain with the team as they travel to Atlanta to play Pittsburgh in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 30.