Notre Dame is looking to land a top back in the 2022 class, and one of the best on the board is Memphis (Tenn.) Christian Brothers standout Dallan Hayden.
Hayden has released a top five that consists of Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon, Tennessee and Illinois. The 5-11, 190-pound running back spoke with SI All-American Director of Recruiting John Garcia Jr. about his top schools.
You can read the entire interview by clicking HERE.
Here is what Hayden had to say about Notre Dame:
"Football history, the great players they've had. All-Americans. They win and they're making me feel like a priority. I talk to their offensive coordinator (Tommy Rees) and running backs coach (Lance Taylor) through texts and getting on the phone almost every day. They're recruiting me hard. Ever since they offered, the communication hasn't stopped."
Hayden rushed for 2,010 yards (8.7 YPC) and 24 touchdowns as a junior, and he has been a top target on the board for the Fighting Irish for some time. Clearly the offensive staff is going all in for Hayden and other top backs, so they get the need to follow up the strong 2020 and 2021 hauls with another top back.
Hayden isn't a flashy back, but he is highly productive and has all the instinctive traits you want to see in a top back. The Christian Brothers star is a well-built running back that runs with good pad level and he's willing to mix it up between the tackles. As he physically matures and adds more to his lower half I expect to see his ability to do damage after contact improve significantly.
Hayden isn't a burner, but his game speed is impressive. He is a north-south runner that can get to full speed in a hurry once he plants his foot and gets vertical. Hayden is a highly efficient runner that wastes little motion, constantly looks for vertical running lanes and he can make moves and quickly get back to full speed.
Hayden is an agile athlete with excellent balance, two traits that are musts for a back with his game and frame. He's a smooth runner that makes up for his lack of explosiveness with quick feet and tremendous vision and anticipation ability. I love how patient he is as a runner. Hayden gets downhill with purpose, but he won't turn on the gas until he sees the hole, and he does a good job setting up blocks and letting his big men get the proper angles to make their blocks.
The 5-11, 190-pound back doesn't catch the ball much out of the backfield, but he shows clean hands on the attempts that are made to him. His combination of north-south running, efficiency and agility makes him a dangerous weapon in the screen game, and I would expect him to develop into a quality check down, quick game and free release weapon out of the backfield.
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