Hayden Johnson will have a week of college under his belt by the time he graduates high school.
The Arkansas signee and Columbia (Mo.) Rock Bridge three-star fullback has his last day of high school Friday and leaves for Fayetteville the next day.
Because he’s enrolled in the May intersession, Johnson’s first day of college class is Monday. He’ll go to class for a week before heading back home to graduate on May 21, but he’ll turn right back around and be in class two days later.
“I was thinking about coming in at the semester, but it just seemed a little bit early,” Johnson said. “Now I’m ready to get down there. I’m ready to start working, ready to get in the system and start learning the playbook. I couldn’t be more excited about it.”
By not enrolling early, Johnson missed out on participating in the Razorbacks’ spring practice, but he was able to finish several classes that developed him as a student.
Johnson has taken the AP Calculus exam, as well as finished up kinesiology and sports medicine classes, all of which will prepare him for his pre-med degree at the university.
“I feel really prepared for college now,” Johnson said. “I feel like educationally, it was a great decision, but athletically, I’ve been ready to get down there for a while.”
Being from Columbia, Johnson has looked forward to playing Missouri, Arkansas’ yearly SEC East opponent in the “Battle Line Rivalry.”
The rivalry will have an added wrinkle for Johnson, as the Tigers recently hired his high school coach, A.J. Odofile, as their recruiting director.
“It will definitely make everything interesting,” Johnson said. “It’ll still be a friendly rivalry between us and I couldn’t thank him enough for everything he’s done for me.”
Instead of working out with the Razorbacks’ this spring, Johnson has been working out on his own. He started with a workout plan created by Ofodile, a former NFL tight end, and transitioned to Arkansas strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert’s plan in mid-March.
He said he’s been running four or five days a week and lifting weights at least five days a week, but he can’t wait to get on campus and start working out with Herbert in person.
“I decided not to play baseball this year just to focus on training,” Johnson said. “I really couldn’t feel more prepared about this and I’m excited to get in there and work with Herb.”