Indiana Football: Top grad transfer RB showing interest in Hoosiers

Chase Hayden, Arkansas Football. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Chase Hayden, Arkansas Football. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

The Indiana football program is looking to go the grad transfer route to fill the void left by the handful of transfers in the backfield.

It has been a very difficult offseason for Tom Allen and the Indiana football program. Following one of the best seasons in program history, there seems to be more disappointment than excitement as spring practice rolls around.

Recently, Sampson James became the fourth running back and the sixth player to transfer out of the program since the beginning of 2019 season, and the fourth since the end of the season.

What was an extremely talented and deep backfield has now dwindled down to Stevie Scott and incoming freshman Tim Baldwin Jr as the two players who came to Indiana with a scholarship offer. Ahrod Lloyd received a scholarship after arriving on campus and Charlie Spegal, 2019 Indiana Mr. Football, is a preferred walk-on.

So where can Indiana turn to now? Enter Chase Hayden.

Hayden is an Arkansas grad transfer with two years of eligibility and the best thing is, he will be eligible immediately.

The former Tennessee Mr. Football and four-star recruit rushed for 577 yards on 118 carries with five touchdowns through his first two seasons. Despite success early on in his career, Hayden saw action in just four games in 2019, ultimately leading to his transfer.

So far there are three schools recruiting him the hardest, with all three having official visits set up. Houston (Mar 20), Indiana (Mar 27) and then Tennessee (Apr 4) are the trio that is standing out as of now, and will probably be the three that end up vying for his commitment.

While Indiana has the need, Tennessee could be tough to beat as Hayden’s dad, Aaron Hayden, was a standout for the Vols in the ’90s at the running back position.

According to Rivals recruiting analyst Mike Farrell, Hayden will be a high-major impact player for whichever program he chooses.

"“Hayden is an attractive running back on the transfer market because he can catch the ball out of the backfield and can make opponents miss in space. Out of high school we liked his feet and burst which is why he was a Rivals250 prospect but he also had solid size for an all-purpose back. He showed flashes at Arkansas of his ability and he can be a very solid contributor for a Power Five program..”"

While Stevie Scott will handle the majority of the load for Indiana this season, having a proven backup like Hayden would do wonders for the Hoosiers for both 2020 and 2021.

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