Exclusive: Bolles defensive lineman Hayden Schwartz announces college decision

Hayden Schwartz
Special to the USA Today Network

EDITOR'S NOTE: Bolles defensive lineman Hayden Schwartz wrote the following first-person to announce his college football commitment ahead of the NCAA early signing period. The senior, ranked No. 51 in the USA Today Top 100 for Florida recruiting, recorded 20 tackles for loss and eight sacks while helping the Bulldogs to their third consecutive Region 1-4A high school football championship. 

I would like to say that I am fully committed to the University of Minnesota.

It was just the best fit. Out of the all the colleges that I’ve been to, Minnesota felt the best for me.

I loved the coaching staff, their goals and their work ethic.

Coach Fleck is just full of energy and life. He is the kind of guy I want to spend four years with and be coached by. He says a lot of things, but one of them is, “Be elite”. If that’s the expectation, then I want to be led there by no one other than him.

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Bolles defensive lineman Hayden Schwartz is pictured at Baker's Sports High School Media Day on August 5, 2021. [Bolles Athletics/Provided to the Times-Union]

Walking around the building, on all the walls, it’s everything they talk about. "Row the boat." It’s just awesome. And he doesn’t just say something and not follow through on it. It’s spoken all the time and his energy is contagious, too. I want to play for him. 

I really like way he does things and what he expects. Sit in the front two rows at class, wearing a collared shirt, the academics. That’s important. Especially coming from Bolles, the academics are really big for me. 

Their defense is insane and there’s an expectation. I saw how much hard work is required, but I want to work to  match that expectation every single day. Coach Wilt and Coach Rossi, and the whole rest of the coaching staff is amazing. The bar they set is high, and requires the best effort to match it, and that’s is something I want to be a part of. 

It was cool to be able to go to practice and sit in on a meeting and see what they do on a daily basis. It’s what I’ve always been accustomed to with coach Toblin and Bolles and that level of excellence. The time I was there at Minnesota, that’s all I know. I felt it.

Being able to go to a game earlier and then this visit, it was different. Especially compared to some of the other ones. I really like the practice aspect of it because that’s what you’re going to be doing every day and the whole structure of it. That’s what I want to do. During the season on a normal visit, I wouldn’t be able to see that by going to a game and then the locker room after. I was able to see more with this kind of visit. 

Committing felt really freeing. It’s been a stressful year and a half, almost two years with recruiting and the stress of trying to find the right spot and be patient. It’s really tough to be patient. Waiting for the right fit and the right feel, it just weighs on you. I wouldn’t have been able to make it through without the Holy Spirit and His guidance because it was seemingly impossible to think through things the right way for the right reason in my own strength. When I went to Minnesota, I didn’t feel any stress at all. It all just went away, and that’s when I knew it was a special place. 

Recruiting was an absolute blessing. I am so thankful for all the great coaches and coaching staffs I have met throughout the process. I have nothing but good things to say about the other staffs I have interacted with. However, I would not be even close to be in this position without what my parents and what they have sacrificed for me on a daily basis. I am also grateful for Coach Toblin and what he has prepared me for over these past few years, as well as Bolles and everything they have taught me. Also my teammates and how they have constantly pushed me to be the best that I can be. I am product if those around me, and thank you Jesus for your guidance.

The stress is gone. It’s all lifted now. I’m just so grateful for all of it.

Row the boat.