Dallan Hayden is Evolving Into a Key Playmaker for Ohio State

247Sports.com

Dallan Hayden is Evolving Into a Key Playmaker for Ohio State

Football

Dallan Hayden is Evolving Into a Key Playmaker for Ohio State

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247Sports.com

For the Ohio State Buckeyes, they have overcome plenty of injuries to key players this season on both sides of the ball to remain one of the top teams in the country. One of those positions has been the running back spot, and the game against Indiana continued to see the depth diminish. But one key player stepped up, Dallan Hayden.

Coming into the season, the Buckeyes lost Evan Pryor as he suffered a season-ending injury in preseason camp. Going into the Indiana game, Chip Trayanum was ruled out with an unspecified injury, and TreVeyon Henderson was as well with a foot injury he aggravated against Penn State. Miyan Williams started the game as the top running back for Ohio State, yet even he wasn’t playing at full health, as he has dealt with knee and hand injuries so far this season. Williams had 15 carries for 147 yards and a touchdown before suffering an ankle injury against the Hoosiers. This led to Hayden being the healthy running back active to complete the game. 

Heading into this year, Hayden wasn’t even expected to see much playing time. He arrived on campus in June after committing to Ohio State in their 2022 class. The four-star recruit out of Christian Brothers High School had the ability to come in and make an impact with his ability to hit gaps with his burst and turn them into long runs. As well as that, Hayden also is a back that runs hard, embraces contact, and fights for extra yards. The skills he has led to Hayden having 2,002 yards and 33 touchdowns in his senior year. Hayden has the traits, but trying to learn the playbook and scheme in such a short time along with Henderson and Williams, the contribution from Hayden this season seemed unlikely.

With Williams suffering that injury, it was time for Hayden to carry the load. He did so, and he did so tremendously. Hayden would finish the game with 19 attempts that went for 102 yards and a touchdown. This wasn’t the first game Hayden had played in this season for the Buckeyes, but it was the first in which he was relied on to carry the load to close out the game. 

Hayden had seen action in six games prior to this last game against Indiana, those games he either split carries or came in during blowout victories. Over the course of those six games, he had 54 attempts go for 255 yards and one touchdown. Hayden has been able to make big plays consistently and gives the Buckeyes a dynamic playmaker with pass catching abilities that they have yet to fully unlock yet. 

Williams confirmed after the game that he was fine, but going forward he is still not 100% healthy, and neither is Henderson. With big games on the horizon like Michigan and potential College Football Playoff games, Hayden will continue to be relied on as a key playmaker for Ohio State. 

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