The Recruiting Guy:

RB makes difference on basketball court, too

By: Richard Davenport Richard Davenport's Twitter account
Published: Friday, December 16, 2016
Collierville (Tenn.) St. George running back Chase Hayden poses with his 2015 Tennessee Mr. Football award.
( Chase Hayden/Twitter )
Collierville (Tenn.) St. George running back Chase Hayden poses with his 2015 Tennessee Mr. Football award.

Arkansas running back commitment Chase Hayden is known as one of the better football prospects in the nation, but he's not bad on the basketball court either.

Hayden became the all-time scoring leader at St. George's Independent School in Collierville Tenn., on Dec. 7, when he scored 29 points to lead the Gryphons to a 77-50 victory over the Memphis Nighthawks.

Former Duke and Memphis guard Elliot Williams, the No. 22 pick of the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2010 NBA Draft, previously held the record of 1,646.

"I remember going to his games and watching him play," Hayden said. "He was my favorite player and kind of like a role model when I was growing up and to break his record is pretty awesome."

Hayden, 5-11, 185 pounds, 4.47 seconds in the 40-yard dash, pledged to the Hogs over scholarship offers from Oklahoma State, Missouri, Florida, Michigan, South Carolina, Louisville and others in July.

National recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network rates Hayden a 4-star prospect at running back.

In three basketball games this season, Hayden is averaging 22.3 points, 7 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 4 steals while playing point guard. He started playing youth football at an earlier age and favored it until taking up basketball later.

"Around the fifth grade, I started playing AAU basketball," Hayden said. "I got really good at that and I was one of the top players in the country from like the fifth grade to the eighth grade. From the fifth to the eighth grade basketball was my favorite."

He started favoring football again when he entered the ninth grade. He was the Class 2A Mr. Football as a junior after he rushed for 1,917 yards, and 27 touchdowns on 160 carries, while adding 12 receptions for 153 yards and 2 more touchdowns.

Despite his commitment to the Hogs, Oklahoma State, Missouri and Louisville are still reaching out.

"I listen to them, but I know I'm not doing anything," Hayden said. "I'm not taking anymore visits."

Hayden averaged 23.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 5 assists as a junior and was named Mr. Basketball for Class 2A. St. George's Coach Jeff Ruffin said Hayden started on varsity as an eighth-grader on a team that was loaded with juniors and seniors.

"You could tell right away he had a knack for scoring and you could tell he was quick," Ruffin said. "He was a good on ball defender and he was able to get a lot of steals and was able to get in the lane a lot. He was a pretty good shooter then, but he's developed his overall game to where he's a good three-point threat as well as an inside score."

Hayden's father Aaron played running back for Tennessee from 1992-1994 and was a fourth-round NFL Draft pick of the San Diego Chargers in 1995. He played two seasons for the Chargers and one each with Green Bay and Philadelphia.

Hayden and his father spoke to Arkansas basketball assistant Scotty Thurman in the summer about being a two-sport athlete for the Razorbacks. He said the thought of playing basketball in Fayetteville still crosses his mind.

"It's kind of in the back of my mind, I've thought about it a little bit," Hayden said.

Ruffin believes Hayden's success on the football field and scholarship offers that followed probably discouraged colleges from offering him in basketball. He thinks Hayden could play on the SEC level.

"I think so, I think he would be a factor," Ruffin said. "I think he would mix in well with a SEC basketball team."

JUCO receiver signs

Highly recruited junior college receiver Brandon Martin signed a national letter of intent with Arkansas on Thursday, a day after publicly committing to the Razorbacks.

Martin, 6-4, 225, 4.37, of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, picked the Razorbacks over scholarship offers from LSU, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State, Auburn, Louisville and others.

He returned to his home in Monroe, La., to sign with the Razorbacks. He plans to enroll at Arkansas in January and will have three years to play three. ESPN rates Martin the No. 1 receiver and No. 2 overall junior college prospect.

Coach Bret Bielema was a happy Hog after Martin's signing.

"Brandon has the unique combination of size and speed to maximize in the SEC," Bielema said. "He has a great family and support network that saw the type of success Arkansas can help him achieve on and off the field."

He signed with LSU out of Prime Prep Academy in Dallas in 2015, but failed to qualify and enrolled in junior college.

In his lone season at Mississippi Gulf Coast, Martin had 23 receptions for 327 yards and a team-best 4 touchdowns in 10 games.

Sports on 12/16/2016


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