Chase Hayden Transfers: We Hardly Knew Him

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Chase Hayden

-Tommy Foltz

It’s disappointing to see that Chase Hayden is entering the transfer portal.  It’s too bad because we could use the “quality” depth.

We’ve got about 9 or 10 running backs, but the only ones you’ve probably heard of are Rakeem Boyd, Devwah Whaley, Chase Hayden — and we can never be sure if TJ Hammond is going to show up again after a stellar 2017 season.

PROMISE:

To be sure, Hayden looked like a promising back when he got here.  He was a 4-star out of high school in Memphis and went for over 100 yards and a touchdown in his first game as a Hog.  He was on track to rush for over 1,200 yards and at least 12 TDs. Well, in the timeless words of all the intellectuals and elder statesmen who have gone before us…….”Nope”

He went on to rush for 249 yards and 3 touchdowns as a freshman in 2017.  That’s not a terrible freshman debut, and he showed enough promise to inspire this:

After that “breakout” though, things kinda went south for Hayden.

He missed the last part of that 2017 season with a broken leg, ran for 251 yards as a sophomore and only played in 4 games in 2019 because of a concussion.  His career amounted to:

—574 yards rushing on 117 carries (about 4.9 ypc)

—4 touchdowns

—11 receptions for 61 yards

He may have had some bad luck as a Razorback but, still, those are not exactly the kind of numbers that make NFL scouts salivate.

RISING RAKEEM:

The fact of the matter though is that Chase Hayden probably does have his eyes on playing in the NFL.  His dad did.  But, he obviously sees the writing on the wall and knows that he’ll never be the go-to-guy with Rakeem Boyd on the hill.

Rakeem was the 6th leading rusher (1,133 yards) in the SEC while running behind a feeble offensive line that would’ve struggled to open a crease for him against Fayetteville High.  Those numbers would be better, but for some inexplicable reason that only God and Chad Morris know, he only got 8 carries in the Western Kentucky debacle despite the fact that he had 185 yards and 2 touchdowns, each of which were for 70-plus yards. 

Fortunately, Rakeem is still here while the guy who limited his carries is not. 

CHOICE:

No doubt, Hayden needs to choose a school that’s short on running backs so he can get the carries he needs to pile up some yardage.  He probably needs to drop down to a mid-major.

All the same, it’s still a bit puzzling as to why he would transfer at this point. The Hogs could have used another experienced player at his position.

As good as Boyd is, if Chase Hayden is worried that he’ll never be able to compete with him then I’d say his NFL prospects are limited.  It’s not that likely that a bunch of pro teams are going to beat his door down no matter where he finishes his college days.

Perhaps our new offensive coordinator’s “Briles Style” of offense will mean fewer carries for all the backs because Kendal Briles does like to put it in the air.  So, there just may not be that many carries to go around, but Rakeem will get the majority of however many there are.

HERE’S THE DEAL:

The NCAA Transfer Portal has been a mixed bag for a lot of teams.  A team can pick up some decent players, but they can also lose some decent players.

The operative word in that sentence was “decent.”  When a player puts himself in the portal, it begs the question:  Why?

Usually the answer to that is that they don’t see themselves getting any playing time given the talent ahead of them.  So, in a lot of cases, the player transferring may not really be the guy you want, unless the player is going from the SEC to say…..the Mountain West Conference.

Of course, there are exceptions, but we saw in Ben Hicks why he was at SMU and not in the SEC.  And, we saw in Nick Starkel why he lost his job at Texas A&M.  I hope Chase Hayden finds his spot, but unless he drops down and goes somewhere like UCA, that university’s fans should probably keep expectations low. 

That’s my story, and I’m sticking with it.

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