December 1, 2010
Houston commit may look around
D.J. Hayden committed to Houston back in June, and while he is still high on the Cougars, the junior college cornerback might visit some other options.
Hayden, a three-star prospect out of Navarro (Texas) Junior College, is playing the NJCAA national title game against Butler (Kansas) this weekend, and after that he'll decide whether or not to explore a few other schools showing him interest.
Baylor, Kansas State and New Mexico have been on the radar, and Ole Miss has recently jumped into the fray.
Hayden has heard from three different Rebel coaches - head coach Houston Nutt, cornerbacks coach Chris Vaughn and area recruiter James Shibest -- in the past couple weeks and may visit Oxford, Miss., the weekend of Dec. 10.
"It's still up in the air right now, but I might check out Ole Miss," Hayden said. "I'm a December graduate, so I don't have a lot of time, and Houston wants me to come up next weekend, as well. Ole Miss said they like my highlight tape and want me to visit. It's definitely possible. I'm not ruling it out."
With only two years of eligibility remaining, immediate playing time is the focus for Hayden. He's confident he can step right in at Houston, and that same possibility has caught his eye with Ole Miss and Baylor.
"Baylor is up there for me, and I don't know a lot, but Ole Miss tells me I can start there," Hayden said. "But I have a long relationship with Houston, and I know I can step right in at U of H. I only have two years. I have to get on the field."
Hayden (5-foot-11, 185) will have his biggest test Sunday, when Navarro faces Butler quarterback Zach Mettenberger for the second time this season. The former Georgia signal caller is also being recruited by Ole Miss, but LSU and Texas A&M appear to be the frontrunners. Hayden is impressed with Mettenberger.
"Their receivers run good routes, and that quarterback has a strong arm," Hayden said. "You have to cover and take care of your assignment. That'll be a priority in this game."
Butler beat Navarro, 16-10, to open the season, and Hayden's team has won 10 straight games to get a rematch.
The junior college signing period begins Dec. 15, so Hayden only two possible visit weekends if he chooses to look at other schools and sign.
"I think I'll probably see what is out there," Hayden said. "I told Houston, and of course they'd rather me not take visits, but I'm curious what else can be offered, and at the end it's my decision."
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