Friday Night Files: Dallan Hayden Continues Monstrous Junior Season, Talks Recruitment

Brandon Martin

Tennessee has put together several good recruiting classes in a row, and the 2021 class is looking to be strong as well. The Vols are now working to put together their 2022 class, and this cycle is a particularly strong class within the state of Tennessee. There are multiple players that Jeremy Pruitt and his staff have prioritized in the 2022 class that they want to keep home, but perhaps none are more dynamic than a Tennessee legacy from Memphis. Four-star athlete Dallan Hayden from Christian Brothers High School (Memphis, TN) is having one of the best seasons in the state of Tennessee in 2020. Hayden continued his impressive season with an exceptional game against Pope John Paul II High School.

Hayden is a 5’11” 192 pound athlete that is thriving at running back for the Purple Wave this season. Hayden has been so impactful because of the breadth of the skills that make up his game. He has exceptional change of direction abilities, and even changes quickly in the hole. Hayden has quick, active feet, which contributes to him being such a sudden ball carrier. Hayden is difficult to bring down because he is so difficult to line up and it is a struggle for defenses to anticipate where he is going. Compounding his effectiveness with his quickness, Hayden has excellent acceleration and impressive top end speed. This means that when Hayden makes a cut or reverses field on a run, if he is presented with a seam, he is able to exploit it for a long gain or score. Hayden is difficult to bring down for defenders one-on-one because he runs bigger than he is. He puts his head down and runs through tackles, and through grasping arms when his quickness puts him just out of reach of defenders. Another part of Hayden's game worth noting is that those active, driving feet mean that he pushes piles and does not go down on first contact. Hayden is able to take a run that looks dead, keep his feet moving, and slip off the side of the pile for a solid gain. These physical skills make Hayden a complete, shifty back with the explosion to score on any carry, but those only make up part of his game.

As a runner, Hayden shows the polish of excellent intangibles. He feels the defense and his blockers as he runs. He instinctively knows when to press a hole to draw the defense in, when to bounce outside, and when to attack an opening. Hayden also has superb vision. He sees and processes wide swathes of the field as he runs. This allows him to set up his blockers, avoid defenders, and maximize his carries. Hayden processes information quickly, digesting what he sees, projecting to forward, and then attack the soft spot of the defense. The ability to feel the defense and see the field so we’ll makes Hayden even more dangerous with his change of direction. He is explosive as a cutback runner, bending a run back even when he is in the hole, to break off long runs. He also presses his line, forcing defenses to collapse and commit, before cutting back or sliding to the hole he always intended to hit for a long gain. The ability to create these kind of opportunities, to run with this kind of polish, while maximizing each run will serve Hayden well at the next level. Hayden's ability to manipulate the defense, then use his speed to exploit a hole for a score makes him a nightmare to defend against. 

Against a good Pope John Paul II defense, Hayden ran for 280 yards on 19 Carries, with 3 touchdowns. This has become a typical line for Hayden this far this season, as he continues to put up remarkable efforts. Teams across the nation are recruiting Hayden for his on-field prowess, but he is also the kind of young man any program would be glad to have as their face. As a junior in high school, Hayden has dedicated his season to raising charity money to promote reading and writing for underprivileged students in Memphis. Hayden brings immense, explosive talent to the table, along with a high football IQ, and excellent character. Hayden is a complete back that has more than warranted his offers from Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, and Ohio State among many more. Hayden is currently on pace to leave his mark on the Tennessee High School Record Books. He is also trying to leave a mark on the youth of his community. If you would like to contribute to his fundraiser or learn more, feel free to check out the following url: https://t.co/nJOdIWg4MG?amp=1 

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