Taking Stock –
|High School||St. George’s Independent School (Collierville, TN)|
|Star Rating||Three Stars|
|Transfer Date||May 12, 2020|
An explosive, shifty running back, Chase Hayden is the type of player Southeastern Conference schools recruit, leaving the rest of the country wishing they could. Well during this recruiting cycle, Mike Houston and East Carolina University got their chance to do just that when Hayden entered the transfer portal and ended up committing to the Pirates.
A graduate transfer with two years of eligibility remaining, Hayden joins a deep running back room in Greenville, North Carolina. Hayden’s addition immediately makes that position group much better, as his track record, both at St. George’s Independent and Arkansas, speaks for itself.
Tabbed as a four-star prospect by some recruiting publications out of high school, Hayden amassed over 7,000 rushing yards and 92 touchdowns during his prep career. Those kinds of numbers pushed him up prospect charts, making Hayden the seventh-best player in the state of Tennessee, according to Rivals and 247Sports.com. Hayden was also the 169th-best prospect in the country by Rivals’ rankings.
Watch Chase Hayden’s highlight tape here.
Immediately, Hayden began making an impact with the Razorbacks. In his collegiate debut, Hayden rushed for a career-best 120 yards on 14 carries against Florida A&M, earning him SEC Freshman-of-the-Week honors.
Before an injury limited sidelined him after seven games during his freshman campaign, Hayden had racked up 326 yards, a number that ranked third on the team.
Playing behind Rakeem Boyd and Devwah Whaley as a sophomore, Hayden made the most of his touches out of the back field. While he did not start a game, he did appear in all 12 contests and once again stacked up third on the Razorbacks’ rushing list with 251 yards on 57 attempts. That equates to 4.4 yards per carry, while he also caught 11 passes for 61 yards in his second season with Arkansas.
After four games in 2019, Hayden was redshirted and eventually entered the transfer portal where he became one of seven transfers Houston and his staff brought in from big-time programs this summer.
Right away, Hayden will likely have the opportunity to start for the Pirates, but Darius Pinnix Jr. and Demetrius Mauney both figure to compete for the position during the preseason.
On tape, Hayden possesses as elusive quality that makes it hard for would-be tacklers to get him on the ground. With some size to his 5’10” frame, Hayden can also bounce off defenders or run them over them entirely on his way to the end zone. In open space, the former SEC product can out-run a good amount of defensive backs.
A highly touted prospect out of the prep ranks, Hayden never really got a chance to shine at Arkansas. With two years of eligibility remaining for the Tennessee native, he should get plenty of touches in purple and gold. What he does with those touches will determine just how good this pick-up was for the Pirates.