Dallan Hayden Breaks Down Top Schools

Dallan Hayden 
Athlete, Class of 2022
Christian Brothers, Memphis, TN
5-11, 192

One month ago, Christian Brothers (Tenn.) four-star athlete Dallan Hayden reported a list of his top seven schools, and said those schools still are in better position than the rest of his two dozen scholarship offers.

Hayden, No. 221 in the 2022 Rivals250, said his seven standouts are Ohio State, Tennessee, Florida State, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Georgia and Auburn. But while he’s making some moves, he’s also waiting. The extension of the NCAA’s recruiting dead period through the end of the year has certainly delayed his final decision.

“That [top seven list] on Rivals, that was the early ones, but my recruitment is open,” Hayden said. “I already know some schools that I like, though. They’re all in there for different reasons. The football programs just kind of speak for themselves.”

Hayden has yet to see the Hokies first-hand, but he does have some familiarity with the football program and its previous success.

“I know the history with DBs,” Hayden said. “I know that they have a really good academic program, other than football. I know Coach (Justin) Fuente because he used to be in Memphis. I just think he’s going to do good things. I don’t know a lot, but I want to get to know more about Virginia Tech.”

Assistant coaches Ryan Smith and Adam Lechtenberg have been the primary recruiters for the Hokies, and so far Hayden said he’s liked what he’s heard.

“I get a good vibe from there,” he said. “They seem straight-forward, and they want the best for their team. They try to go get the best players in the country at Virginia Tech.”

Hayden has been widely linked to Tennessee. His father, Aaron Hayden, was a tailback for the Volunteers in the early 1990s, before a four-year NFL career. The younger Hayden has become quite familiar as a result.

“I think it’s pretty cool,” Dallan Hayden said. “The field is pretty dope. I’ve been going to games for a long time because my dad and my mom went there. I’ve just been knowing the program pretty much my whole life. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad thing, but it definitely makes you think about a lot of things, like follow your dad’s path or create your own path. I’d probably say it’s not good or bad, just in the middle for me.”

The only other college option Dallan Hayden said he’s seen in person is Georgia, and he said he has fond memories of the Bulldogs.

“The facilities are nice, and I like the coaching staff,” he said. “I like watching them play, and I feel like they’re going to do big things down the road. They’re one of the hottest programs right now.”

Even within the top seven, however, Hayden said three schools have begun to separate themselves further.

“I feel like the schools that have recruited me the hardest, they’re all different,” he said. “Ohio State is different, Tennessee is different and Notre Dame is different. I just feel like the conferences are different, but the level of play or the overall level is what is expected. It’s the same at those three schools. The staffs, they’re all genuine, they want to see you succeed and help you be the best you can be. They’re different, I just don’t know exactly how.”

Off the field, Dallan Hayden has also garnered attention. He’s lent his name for a “Coaching for Literacy” campaign this season. Fans have pledged to donate money each time Hayden scores a touchdown in 2020.

“It’s just a thing where they donate money for every touchdown I score for kids