Chase Hayden is no stranger to the orange-clad program on Rocky Top. The sophomore running back’s father Aaron Hayden played and Tennessee and the Volunteers were the first school to present a scholarship offer to the teenager.
The legacy aspect and being the first in the door have the Orange & White sticking out to the Class of 2017 standout.
“I love it,” Hayden said Saturday. “I just like all of the facilities. I like the coaches. I love Tennessee.
“I’m going to look everywhere but right now Tennessee is probably in my lead.”
The coaches at Tennessee continuing to show love is only strengthening that lead.
“It means a lot; it kind of feels like family. It feels like home kind of,” Chase Hayden said.
Hayden, who ran for 1,449 yards and 14 touchdowns in becoming a TSSAA Division II Class A Mr. Football Back of the Year finalist, took a trip with his father from Collierville to Knoxville for a wintery junior day
“It was good,” Hayden said. “I had fun looking at the facilities and meeting all the coaches.”
Navigating through the snow and slush wasn’t easy but Hayden said it wasn’t wasted time.
“It was still worth it. I still got to see like all of the facilities. The only thing I missed was going over to the stadium.”
Aspects of the Anderson Training Center, including the player’s lounge, nutrition bar, weight room and coaches’ offices all impressed.
Aaron Hayden carried the football for the Big Orange back in the early ‘90s. Much has changed around The Hill since then.
“He said it looks a lot different than when he was here,” the St. George’s standout said. “He said the locker room in (the Anderson Training Center was different).”
The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder, who plays basketball Tuesday in the TSSAA postseason, said he plans to use the offseason “definitely working on my athleticism and getting bigger.”