Josh Hayes, a transfer cornerback from North Dakota State, will join the Virginia football program in the fall. UVa announced the news Saturday morning. Hayes has one season of eligibility remaining and will enroll at UVa in the summer.
The defensive back comes to UVa after a productive career for the top program in the FCS. He played in six of NDSU’s games in 2020-21, recording 30 tackles and three pass breakups. He entered the transfer portal earlier this month.
In 2019, Hayes earned All-Missouri Valley Football Conference second team honors. He started all 16 games for the Bison, who won the national championship. North Dakota State won the FCS national championship in each of his three full seasons with the program.
During the 2019 season, Hayes recorded 59 tackles, including seven tackles while on special teams. He also broke up 10 passes and snagged a pair of interceptions.
Hayes played in 52 consecutive games for the Bison before deciding to enter the transfer portal this spring. The Florida native will now have a chance to showcase his skills against Power 5 foes.
The corner is the latest FCS transfer to join Virginia. James Madison transfers D’Angelo Amos and Adeeb Atariwa both played significant snaps on the Cavaliers’ defense in 2020. Atariwa is expected to compete for a starting role along the defensive line in 2021, while Amos is pursuing an NFL career.
Ra’Shaun Henry, a wide receiver from Saint Francis, had four touchdown catches for UVa in 2020. He’s one of the team’s top options at receiver heading into the fall.
Hayes hopes to have a similar impact for the Cavaliers. He’ll join an experienced cornerback group that includes seniors Nick Grant and Darrius Bratton. Louisville transfer Anthony Johnson is also expected to suit up at cornerback for UVa, giving the Cavaliers a few veteran options at the position.
Seniors De’Vante Cross and Joey Blount are expected to start at safety, giving Virginia plenty of experience in the secondary.