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Buckeyes Crootin’ 2022 Class-In-Review: Running back Dallan Hayden

In this series, Shane “@BuckeyesCrootin” Bailey will introduce you to every member of the Ohio State 2022 recruiting class.

RB Dallan Hayden on his Ohio State visit
Photo: 247Sports Edit: Shane Bailey

Welcome to Buckeyes Crootin’ 2022 Class-In-Review, with me, Shane Bailey — or as many of you may know me @BuckeyesCrootin on Twitter. In this series I will be discussing and highlighting the strengths of all of the 2022 Ohio State football commitments, along with what to expect when they get to Columbus.

This series is for both casual fans who have never followed recruiting in their life and just want to get a head start on the new faces coming in next year, and the true diehards who could name the state and hometown of every commit on this list. We will be working our way through the offense first and then the defense, with some other special articles as game day visits and new commitments pop up.

So, as I said we are starting with the offensive commits. In recent years, OSU fans have gotten used to fireworks, big plays, opposing defensive backs’ ankles being broken from nasty cuts by Garrett Wilson or Chris Olave, and of course watching Ryan Day pick apart opposing defensive coordinators (lookin’ at you Brent Venables).

The 2022 class definitely looks to continue the Ohio State tradition of excellence, featuring some absolutely explosive offensive firepower that can score on their opponents in a matter of seconds. Let’s take a look at the offensive commitments onboard so far in the class of 2022.

Current 2022 Offensive Commits

Quarterback: None, with Quinn Ewers’ reclassification to 2021, I can see Ohio State maybe kicking the tires on a few 2022 recruits, but mainly putting their focus on the big fish in 2023. If they do bring in a new QB in 2022, it would likely be a veteran via the transfer portal if one or two of the current crop end up departing.

Running back: Dallan Hayden
Wide Receiver: Caleb Burton, Kyion Grayes, Kaleb Brown, and Kojo Antwi
Tight End: Bennett Christian
Offensive Line: Tegra Tshabola and George Fitzpatrick

Dallan Hayden | Christian Brothers HS, Memphis, Tenn. | 5-foot-11, 195 lbs.

Today we are going to look at the lone running back commitment of the class, Dallan Hayden. The Buckeye commit who once showed up to his Ohio State visit in an Ezekiel Elliott jersey always seemed destined to follow in the current Dallas Cowboy’s footsteps as a Buckeye back. Hayden follows up a two-back mega-talented class in 2021 that featured Evan Pryor and TreVeyon Henderson.

Dallan is the son of former NFL running back Aaron Hayden and brother of Illinois running back Chase Hayden. Football runs in the Hayden family’s blood and you can tell the second you put on the tape for this young man.

Hayden was a solid running back prospect during his sophomore year at Christian Brothers High School in Memphis, Tenn., but his junior year saw him really take a huge step forward. He added more weight to his frame and the extra bulk clearly showed off. In only nine games during his junior season he ran for 2,010 yards on 232 carries, averaging 8.7 yards, and scoring 24 touchdowns on the ground. You know, light work for the young Buck.

With the new muscle added in the offseason, Hayden showed improved burst and ability to quickly find space where often times there was none. One of the first things you will notice when you press play on the tape, is the vision and quickness with which he gets to the hole. There is very little wasted effort from the time of the snap to him hitting an open lane that is closing very rapidly. That, in my opinion, is the mark of a smart and very well prepared running back.

You must know where you are going — and where your blockers are going — in order to trust them enough to just go full speed towards a gap in the line that may not be there by the time you hit it. But Hayden shows little to no fear and when he gets the rock he is often rewarded with big plays and chunks of yardage. He explodes through the hole and once at the second level is very good at making defenders miss.

When you see this kid coming at you in the open field, you better say a prayer for your ankles. Hayden runs track as well, which is something you always love to see out of your running backs and other skill position players, and it is very noticeable when he gets to that second level. Hayden still has plenty of room to improve and plenty of explosiveness yet unlocked inside. It will be up to Ohio State running backs coach Tony Alford to get that potential out of him, and given Alford’s track record, I have no doubt that he will.

Once Hayden gets into a college weight program and starts working with the Buckeye staff, I think we will have a super productive future RB on our hands. Buckeye fans when watching his tape may be reminded of Ohio State great J.K. Dobbins, due to the crisp jump cuts and wide field of vision he shows he possesses. His ability to put one foot in the ground, change direction and hit that next gear through the hole is very reminiscent of Dobbins. Hayden seems to find cutback lanes with ease and utilizes them to gain every possible inch of yardage afforded to him by the defense.

With Hayden in the fold, the Buckeyes have their guy at the running back position for the class of 2022, and in this writer’s opinion, a very special one at that. Join me again soon as next up I will be talking about the Buckeyes’ top-130 wide receiver commitment. Oh wait, there are four of those?

Well I guess you will just have to wait for next time to find out which one it is.