The four-star back out of Friendly High in Fort Washington, Maryland is already enrolled in spring classes at Chestnut Hill and is hoping to learn BC's offense in the meantime. Getting a head-start can only help his chances at becoming a first-year starter.
"He can learn the system, get acclimated to the academics," said Josh's father, Joe. "It's a huge advantage, man."
It worked for Anthony Castonzo last season. Castonzo was barely even a blip on the recruiting radar, snuck into the public's consciousness on Signing Day as a last-day pickup, and enrolled early for the spring semester. When fall rolled around, the 260-pound freshman started five games at right tackle and became a regular by the end of the season.
So why can't it work for Haden, who Scout.com ranks as the East's eighth-best back? With the starting running back spot up for grabs at this point, a supremely talented youngster like Haden is as good a candidate as any.
"He actually has a legitimate chance," said Joe Haden. "We sat down with Coach [Jeff Jagodzinski]. He's got a chance. And that's all you want, is an opportunity to compete for that."
Haden's brother, Joe, Jr., just finished his freshman year at Florida and will be competing for a starting cornerback spot next year. Many thought Josh would follow his older brother to Gainesville. The Hadens have a good relationship with Urban Meyer and his staff, but Josh and his family determined BC was a better fit. Strong academics, a pro-style offense, and an opportunity at immediate playing time were all factors in Josh choosing to become an Eagle instead of a Gator.
"It really fits into Josh's style, the pro-style offense," said Joe, Sr. "He's a speed guy. When he gets in behind those big horses, [opponents] won't even see him. I think it's going to fit him really well. So we're pleased. That's one of the reasons we picked Boston College, because Josh is a traditional running back. That's what he does. The combination of that and the coaching - It's some positive stuff."
Haden will have all spring to learn the offense, get to know his teammates and coaches, and – Oh, yeah - go to class. It will all be part of his development and, as the Haden family hopes, the first few steps toward earning a starting job.