Ohio State RB Dallan Hayden is the 247Sports True Freshman of the Week

Dallas Hayden turned over Ohio State’s game against Maryland on Saturday.

The Buckeyes averaged a measly 2.2 yards per carry in the first half with one heavily injured TreVeyon Henderson hard to bear the burden. With such a performance, it came as no surprise that Maryland led No. 2 Ohio State by 13-10 at halftime. And heading into the second half, it smelled like a commotion was brewing in College Park. With Miyan Williams absent through injury and Henderson limping, the Buckeyes had to switch their quick attack to a true freshman Dallas Hayden. The four-star 2022 recruit had just one carry in the first half. But he had far more than that in the second half of the game as Ohio State made their comeback.

Hayden changed everything for Ohio State. The Buckeyes’ halftime deficit turned into a 43-30 win, thanks in large part to Hayden’s 146 yards and 3 touchdowns. He averaged 5.4 yards per carry, which balanced an offensive Buckeyes attack that struggled in the first half.

Hayden, who also had 2 catches for 10 yards, stepped up when the Buckeyes needed a spark. That performance (which could have saved Ohio State’s playoff hopes) earned Hayden the honor of being named the 247Sports True Freshman of the Week in Week 12.

“Yeah, we didn’t quite get the running game going there in the first half and then switched to Dallan,” the Ohio State head coach said ryan day said after the game. “And he really got us into a rhythm — I thought he was going to hit the holes hard.”

With injuries ravaging the Buckeyes’ backfield, Hayden has been asked to perform for the past two weeks. He has answered the call with 100-yard efforts in back-to-back plays.

“For a young player with so much at stake today, the most important thing is to play like that – to take care of the football first,” said Day. “When you give someone this football, you put the whole team in their hands. And that’s something we talk about a lot. And so we trusted Dallan to do that. He had a few spots this year, but that was big. And if he takes that game under his wing, I think it will build some confidence for him.”

Hayden has rushed for 503 yards and 5 touchdowns for a total of 100 carries this season. He ranks 12th nationally for true freshman running backs in rushing yards while averaging a healthy 3.29 yards after contact, according to PFF College.

The 1.6 meter tall, 195 pound Memphis native finished 226th overall in the 2022 Top247 rankings. He selected Ohio State over offers from Notre Dame and Illinois.

Here’s Hayden’s high school scouting report via 247Sports national analyst Allen Trieu:

“Has a collegiate fit build at a sturdy 195 pounds. Highly productive junior season showing he can break long runs and hit creases with burst and acceleration but is also a physical runner, dropping his shoulder and making contact when needed. Runs hard and doesn’t stop on contact. Shows wobbling and dodging, but mostly seems to be a one-cut-and-go back. Has shown he can catch the ball, run stretches and also use his physicality as a pass blocker.”

Past True Freshman of the Week winners:

Week 1 – Malaki Starks, S, Georgia
week 2 – Dane Key, WR, Kentucky
week 3 – Nick Singleton, RB, Penn State

week 4 – Jaydn Ott, RB, Cal
week 5 – Jaheim Oatis, DT, Alabama
week 6 – Kelvin Banks, OT, Texas
week 7 – Quinshon Judkins, RB, Ole Miss
week 8 – AJ Haulcy, S New Mexico
Week 9 – Conner Weigman, QB, Texas A&M
week 10 – Benjamin Morrison, CB, Notre Dame
Week 11 – Harold Perkins, LB, LSU