2022 RB Dallan Hayden Updates Recruitment, Talks Notre Dame Zoom Call
One of their top targets is Memphis (Tenn.) Christian Brothers' Dallan Hayden, a fellow four-star recruit. The 6-0, 192-pounder recently narrowed his list down to a handful of schools, including Notre Dame, and the Irish are pushing hard for his pledge.
Ohio State, Tennessee, Notre Dame and Illinois are Hayden's top four. Notre Dame running backs coach Lance Taylor has led the Irish's pursuit of him since offering in June 2020.
Thursday afternoon, the entire Notre Dame offensive staff and head coach Brian Kelly joined Hayden for a Zoom call. It was an important meeting with the Tennessee running back ,who enjoyed talking to the Notre Dame staff all at once.
“Coach Kelly, coach Taylor and [offensive coordinator Tommy Rees] were the main three that were on the call talking to me,” Hayden said. “They were in the middle of a staff meeting and asked me to join, so I hopped on. We didn’t talk a lot about football, but they asked about my family and how the dead period being extended is impacting me.”
Kelly took the lead on the call, pushing for Hayden to take a self-guided tour of Notre Dame to get a true feel for the campus. If visits were allowed, he likely would have already visited South Bend multiple times. For now, the staff is doing what it can do to make Notre Dame feel like home for Hayden.
Rees was also heavily featured on the call. Hayden has the longest-standing and strongest relationship with Taylor among Notre Dame's coaches, but Rees' presence and push has been more pronounced recently.
“Coach Rees seems like a great coach, he is a players' coach,” Hayden said. “He seems like a guy I want to play for and a guy that I really like off the field.”
With the dead period being extended through May 31, self-guided tours are the only option for recruits in the 2022 class to see campus at the moment. It doesn’t appear as though visits will be allowed anytime soon.
“Once springtime comes around I am going to take some visits,” Hayden explained. “With the limited number of scholarships because of COVID and everything surrounding it, I need to visit some schools.”
Hayden is planning to take visits to Notre Dame, Ohio State, Tennessee and Illinois before making his commitment. As it stands now, he plans to have his decision made before his senior year at Christian Brothers begins.
If the dead period continues to get extended, Hayden said he will likely make his commitment in the spring. If it is lifted, Hayden could drag his recruitment out a bit and visiting his top schools multiple times before making a final decision before the fall.
The longer Hayden’s recruitment goes on, the more it looks like a Notre Dame and Ohio State contest. With the Tennessee football program in major turmoil and bringing in a brand new staff, Hayden has had to build new relationships there and lost some that had been growing for years.
The in-state Volunteers also have a unique selling point. Hayden’s father, Aaron, played running back for Tennessee in the early 1990s and spent four years in the NFL.
Illinois is a newer addition to the race, having offered on Jan. 20. The Illini have a new coach in Bret Bielema and another family tie. Hayden's older brother, Chase, will play for them this year as a grad transfer. He began his career at Arkansas under Bielema.
If Hayden begins taking self-guided visits in the next couple of weeks, expect his recruitment and decision to move quickly. Hayden will be taking a visit to Notre Dame and also made it known that Price's commitment has not impacted his thoughts on the Irish "one bit."
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