UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State starting defensive end Jerome Hayes will not return next season.
Hayes, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the 2008 season and in his right knee in '07, had considered petitioning the NCAA for a medical hardship waiver for a sixth year of eligibility.
But Rick Rodriguez, his coach at Bayonne High School in New Jersey, said last night that Hayes has decided to end his college career and pursue an opportunity in pro football.
"I wanted him to stay another year, let that leg heal and make an impact next season, but Jerome's heart is not into it and he's ready to move on," said Rodriguez, who spoke to Hayes yesterday. "Five years of college is enough for him."
The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Hayes, who graduated last spring with a degree in journalism, had 18 tackles and one sack this season while starting eight games. He has an 18-month-old son.