Dallan Hayden second in 400, has visits to Illinois, Ohio State, Notre Dame football coming up

Khari Thompson
Memphis Commercial Appeal

Dallan Hayden came into the DII-AA state championship meet seeded sixth in the 400-meter dash, but he almost ended up winning. He ran a personal best 49.36 and finished second on Wednesday. 

"It felt good. It’s been a long time coming," Hayden said. "I remember at region when I ran that 50 I was upset. But then I was like, 'I’m going to be pushed at state' and that’s what happened and I ran the best time of my career by like a whole second so I can’t complain."

The Tennessee Titans DII-AAA Mr. Football winner also helped Christian Brothers win the 4x200 relay in 1:28.80. The Purple Wave finished second in the team rankings with 146 points. 

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"I'd say it (this season) went pretty good because I got faster," Hayden said. "I do track to get faster for football and I feel like the mission was accomplished. So now it’s back to football."

The four-star running back said he will spend the first three weekends of June taking official visits. He will visit Illinois on June 4, followed by Notre Dame on June 11 and Ohio State on June 18.  

Hayden's older brother, Chase Hayden, is a running back at Illinois. And he said his relationship with coach Bret Bielema is part of why the Illini are one of his top schools. 

"They have a shot, my brother is there and I’m taking the trip there," Hayden said. "Bret Bielema has been nothing but good to my family, especially my brother. I feel like he’s a great man, so there’s definitely a shot there."

Hayden said he's excited to visit Columbus, Ohio, where his family lived briefly before it moved to Memphis. 

"I’m pumped to get up there to Ohio State," Hayden said. "I just want to see everything and talk to the coaches. I talk to them all the time on Zoom calls and stuff  but I haven’t talked to them face to face so I’m excited to get to Columbus. I have ties there, too."

Hayden said he's also considering Tennessee and Auburn and probably won't narrow his list again until he commits. He said he is planning on committing before the start of his senior season. 

And now that he's showed that he's gotten even faster, the state's No. 5 prospect said he's looking to make an even bigger impact next year. 

"I’m going to try to take it to another level, help my team get to the playoffs and make some noise," Hayden said. "We’ve got great leadership and a talented senior class coming back with guys like (three-star lineman) Patrick Kutas and (quarterback) Ashton Strother. I’m looking forward to this year."