CHESAPEAKE, Va. -- Evan Hailes (Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Smith) has the size, speed and strength. Playing in the Under Armour All-American Game on Jan. 2, the elite defensive tackle prospect will get the chance to show his stuff in front of a national audience. Hailes received his game jersey at a ceremony at Oscar Smith, with teammate and fellow UA All-American Phillip Sims, on Friday.
At 300-plus pounds, he moves like a much lighter defensive lineman and is quick off the ball. Hailes has the great combination of power and lateral movement. He can create a new line of scrimmage by pressing blockers into the opponents' backfield.
Hailes can obviously push the pocket when it comes to pass rush, but he prides himself on his tight spin technique when pressuring the quarterback. He shows excellent balance and body control for a player with his physical dimensions. Hailes says one of the most frustrating parts of playing defensive line is not getting the opportunity to get solid tackles on players outside the box. At the same time, he doesn't mind tying up blockers so his teammates can fly to the football.
Hailes had his choice of schools from the ACC and SEC but opted for Penn State.
"The thing that impressed me the most about Penn State was the family atmosphere," Hailes said. "I can go there and succeed as a student and an athlete."
His football heroes are defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and outside 'backer Terrell Suggs of the Baltimore Ravens.
"They give great effort and are dominant players," Hailes said.
Like a lot of high school athletes, Hailes enjoys listening to music and hanging out with his friends when not playing sports. He really enjoys writing and is always working to improve his grammatical skills. He even has a poetic side and hopes to follow this passion at Penn State.
Hailes will graduate early and start classes at Penn State in January.
Before heading north to play his college ball, Hailes has other business to tend to.
"I am really looking forward to the competition and I know it will prepare me for college," he said. "I am also excited to play on a nationally televised game."
Bill Conley is a recruiting coordinator for ESPN Scouts Inc. He previously worked at Ohio State for 17 years as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.