High School: East Wake
Position: Defensive end
Why Fort Scott? Hayden had Division II offers, but is hoping that attending Fort Scott for a year or two will result in even greater opportunities. “They put a lot of people into better situations,” Hayden said. “I’ve had (Division I) schools tell me to take the (junior college) route, so I’m looking for either a really better offer at a (Division II) school, or the real goal is (Division) I-A.”
Most memorable: As one might imagine, a 10-3 season as a junior in 2014 was something Hayden said would be hard to forget. “That was pretty fun,” he said. But one thing he knows he’ll always remember is the bond he formed with his teammates at East Wake. “Most of these people I’ve grown up with, so you can’t really find another relationship like that,” he said. “I can’t really bond like that with anyone else.”
Notable: At 6-foot-7, 245 pounds, Hayden towered over pretty much every other high school player he lined up against. He was a Greater Neuse River Conference all-conference selection for both his junior and senior seasons.
East Wake coach John Poulnott: “He’s very disruptive on the field. Even when he can’t get to QB, he’s able to cause problems with throwing lanes. When he was being recruited, he was as a tight end, defensive end and a tackle. His 6-7 frame that’s going to fill in over the next several years is something that has a lot of coaches excited. I think he believes, too, that in two years a Division II opportunity is still going to be there, but he wants to play (Division I) ball, and that may be there.”
Compiled by Aaron Moody.