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Blake Hayes



Hayes earned his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, boasting a 3.75 GPA. He was named a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar twice and an Academic All-Big Ten honoree three times.

He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public health.


Hayes has been named a team captain at Illinois for a third season.

In 2020, he served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee before being selected as Vice President of the organization. Hayes is also a member of the registered student organization for international student-athletes.


Before coming to the United States, Hayes participated in an annual brain cancer research event called ‘Connor’s Run.’ He has now brought the event to Illinois with him.

Hayes will be donating his own money this season by using his talent on the field. He will be donating $15 for every punt he lands inside the 20-yard line and $30 for every punt he lands inside the 5-yard line. He has raised $240 for Connor’s Run so far, with his total being matched by others.


Hayes is now in his fifth year as the starting punter for the Fighting Illini.

In 2019, he was named the Big Ten Punter of the Year, and he is a four-time All-Big Ten selection.

Hayes holds several Illinois punting records including career punting yardage (12,326), single season record of punts downed inside the 20 (41.6%), single-season record of punts 50+ yards (22) and single-season record low touchback percentage (2.6%). He also ranks second in program history in career punting average (43.4).