The picture is becoming clearer for Dallan Hayden as he gets closer to making a college decision, but June official visits will be key for the four-star running back.

“I put out a top four, so I’ve narrowed It down a little bit,” Hayden told “I’m really waiting on visits. Once I take my visits, I feel like I’ll have a better idea with where I stand with my recruitment.”

Hayden has scheduled three official visits. He’ll check out Illinois June 4-6, Notre Dame June 11-13 and Ohio State June 18-20. Hayden discussed what he likes about each school that he’ll see next month.

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Notre Dame is on the short list for Tennessee running back Dallan Hayden. (

Illinois: “Coach Bielema recruited my brother and coached him his freshman year. He’s a great man. He loves to run the ball and has had successful backs in his system. That’s what I really like about them.”

Notre Dame: “Coach Taylor – when he offered me, he’s made me feel like a priority. We talked once a week and we talk all the time over text.”

Ohio State: “They’ve made me feel like a priority since they offered me. I’ve heard from Coach Tony Alford, and Coach Ryan Day texts me and my family.”

Tennessee is also under consideration by Hayden, but he has yet to schedule an official visit for the Vols. He may not need to considering his level of familiarity with the program, as his father, Aaron, was a star running back for Tennessee in the early 90s.

“They’re definitely in the mix,” he said of Tennessee. “They’ve made me feel like a priority since Coach Heupel has gotten the job. I hear from him via text almost every day. I hear from Coach Mack every day and he calls me twice per week. The love is definitely there from the staff.”

Look for Hayden to make a decision on his school of choice before the start of his senior season.

“I’ll lean on my parents for guidance,” he said. “My parents know what’s real and what’s fake. I want the coaching staffs to give my parents a good feel. If they don’t have a good feel, then I definitely know I wouldn’t have a good feel.”

Hayden took a self-guided tour of Notre Dame’s campus in March and came away impressed.

“I got to walk around the campus, and it was very pretty,” Hayden told “I’ve seen pictures and videos on the virtual tours, but to see the real-life thing, it was really cool. I saw Touchdown Jesus and took a picture by that. It was really cool.

“The visit made me realize that it’s way better in person than online. It wowed me, to be honest. When I saw the golden dome, I was really impressed. I’ve seen pictures, but sometimes pictures can be overhyped. That wasn’t the case with Notre Dame though.

“When I walked on the campus, I could feel the tradition. Notre Dame has such a rich tradition with football.”

Rivals ranks Hayden as the No. 8 player in Tennessee, and the nation’s No. 12 running back and No. 159 overall prospect.

In just nine games during the 2020 season, Hayden rushed for 2,010 yards and 24 touchdowns on 232 carries.


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