2022 may seem like a long way off, but in the world of recruiting the earlier you begin to build relationships the better off you are in the long run. While hitting the trail to evaluate Class of 2020 targets this spring, the staff is also using this time to begin building relationships with freshman prospects – who are set to become elite by the time they are juniors and seniors.
Memphis (Tn.) Christian Brothers athlete Dallan Hayden told Inside the Gators he is primarily being recruited as a cornerback, and thus considers hi early offer from Florida an honor.
“Florida produces DBs and puts them in the NFL. They’ve had guys like Vernon Hargreaves III, Teez Tabor, and Quincy Wilson,” Hayden stated. “Florida is a DBU.”
Despite both Tabor and Wilson being coached by Florida’s current defensive backs coach Torrian Gray, none of the former players he listed ever got to experience the full effect of the Dan Mullen Era.
Hayden said that he has taken note of what’s brewing in Gainesville both now and in the future.
“Coach Mullen is building something special. He went, what, 10-3 his first year? Won a big bowl game against Michigan. I liked Mullen back when he was at Mississippi State. He’s a cool guy. I mean he had Kodak [Black] at the [Florida State] game and in the locker room. That’s pretty cool.”
However, Florida is far from the first SEC school to take an interest in the 5-foot-10.5, 175-pound freshman. Hayden, whose brother Chase currently plays at Arkansas, already holds offers from six schools in the conference.
“Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Missouri, Mississippi State, and Vanderbilt,” he listed. “I’m planning to visit all of them this upcoming year.”
Hayden’s SEC ties do run a little deeper, though. His dad, Aaron, was a running back at Tennessee from 1991-1994. Growing up, Dallan would watch some of “Tennessee’s best rivalries,” where he includes the Gators.
“I’ve always watched UT-Florida,” he remembered. “That was always one of the big rivals.”