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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Top 2022 RB Dallan Hayden Impressed with Notre Dame & Lance Taylor

October 8, 2020

2020 has been good for 2022 Christian Brothers (Tenn.) athlete Dallan Hayden‍ as he made the move to running back for his junior season. 

As a sophomore, Hayden primarily played cornerback, but after five games this fall, the four-star prospect has rushed for 1,188 yards and 15 touchdowns. 

"I wouldn't say I'm surprised because I felt like the work was put in that was needed to get here," Hayden said of his quick success. "I am surprised by how fast I took off at running back, considering this is my first year fully running the ball. I ran the ball a little bit as a sophomore, but not like I am now." 

The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder considers himself a speed back, but don't think he won't get physical when the opportunity arises. 

"My speed is my biggest advantage," explained Hayden. "I feel like I'm more of a speed back, but I'll run over people when I need to and I'll finish runs. I feel I run bigger than what my size actually is." 

The early success has led to major offers and Hayden's phone has been blowing up since coaches can call and text 2022 prospects.

"It's going pretty well," laughed Hayden. "My phone blows quite a bit now. When I was a sophomore, I would always tell my dad that I couldn't wait until the coaches could contact me because it was boring to call them. 

"Now, my phone is blowing up non-stop. I didn't think it would be this crazy." 

Notre Dame running backs coach Lance Taylor is one of those coaches and the two have developed a close relationship over the last year. 

"He seems like he's a good man on and off the field," stated Hayden. "He's going to coach you to be the best player you can be, but also the best individual off the field as well." 

The relationship isn't the only thing that's impressed Hayden as he's aware of Taylor's track record coaching the position. 

"To me, he's one of the best running back coaches in the country," Hayden stated. "Coach Taylor's resume speaks for itself coaching guys like Bryce Love and Christian McCaffrey, but also his coaching experience in the NFL. 

"I feel he likes backs that can catch and run the ball. Coaching receivers in the NFL and coaching running backs at previous schools helps you develop at the running back position." 

Irish offensive coordinator Tommy Rees and cornerbacks coach Mike Mickens have also been in regular contact. Rees has also made a pitch against Mickens in recent weeks. 

"I talk to Coach Rees from time to time," Hayden explained. "He texts me and asks how I'm doing. Notre Dame is open for me to play defense if I wanted, but Coach Rees always says he isn't letting the defense take me. He wants me in his offense." 

Notre Dame is also a program Hayden is familiar with in a few different ways. 

Aaron, Hayden's father, was hosted by Jerome Bettis on his official visit and actually committed to the Fighting Irish before landing at Tennessee. 

If that name sounds familiar to Notre Dame fans, it might be because Hayden scored the game-winner in 1991 as the Vols rallied for the win after being down 31-7 in South Bend. 

"We don't have really talk about it that much, but I hear about it pretty much all the time now—The Miracle at South Bend," laughed Hayden. "When I first got the offer, one of the people at my school told me congrats and that he remembered my dad's game-winning touchdown." 

Memphis is about five hours away from Knoxville, so the Tennessee legacy doesn't feel too much pressure to go to his father's alma mater, but that doesn't mean people around him don't want him to stay in-state for college. 

"I wouldn't say there is pressure, but everybody always tells me they want me to stay in my home state," stated Hayden. "They always tell me not to leave the state after every game, but I'm not sure there is pressure." 

It's clear Notre Dame and Tennessee are significant contenders for the Christian Brothers star, but several other programs are recruiting Hayden aggressively. 

"Ohio State is recruiting me pretty hard," Hayden said. "I hear from Georgia a lot. Florida State and Virginia Tech are in contact a lot." 

When it comes to making a commitment, Hayden isn't in a rush and wants to take his visits before making a final call. 

"To be honest, I was hoping after the season, but I want to visit all the places I'm considering before I make a decision," said Hayden. "I might make a decision around April or May." 

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