Kelvin Hayden's Cousin Follows His Footsteps

Among those prospects who participated at Fighting Illini football camps this summer is a cousin of a former Illini star. Upcoming junior Darian Henderson is related to Kelvin Hayden, now a defensive back in the NFL. The connection to Illinois is strong, and Henderson did what he could do to prove himself to Illini coaches.

Darian Henderson is a 2014 prospect at Chicago Hubbard High School. He plays multiple positions.

"I play wide receiver and running back on offense, and free safety and corner on defense. I like corner best."

He started as a sophomore in 2011 and had an excellent season.

"I started at free safety. I caught our team's first interception. I had 40-some tackles and I think 12 pass deflections."

Does the 6'-1", 177 pounder wish to pattern his game after his cousin, NFL and former Illinois receiver/defensive back Kelvin Hayden?

"Yeah, but I'm gonna be better than him."

That is saying something. Hayden starred one year on offense and one on defense after transferring to Illinois from junior college. And he continued his success in the pros. But he claims abilities that could lead him to achieving the same goals.

"I have quick feet, good speed after the ball, and I'm very aggressive."

Henderson has no offers yet, but a number of schools are in touch.

"I think about 9 or 10 schools have contacted me, including Illinois and Northwestern."

Without question, he has a favorite he hopes will pull the trigger.

"I'm leaning to Illinois right now. That's the school where my role model, my cousin, went to school. And they're one of the main schools looking at me. I will accept a scholarship if they offer me."

Henderson, who is considering Computer Science or Engineering as a possible college major, showed good explosion in a UI summer camp at Chicago Mt. Carmel. He does need to improve his forty and shuttle times. He has two full seasons of high school ball to earn a UI scholarship.


Illini Inquirer Top Stories