2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
Merrick, New Yor
Kelvin Hayden, CB+WR, Illinois
Height: 5:10.1 Weight: 198
Overview: Kelvin Hayden is a rising star who made the switch to cornerback after originally joining the Illini as a wide receiver. Called by the coaching staff the "team's best athlete," Hayden provided the team with steady play and big plays at whatever position the staff asked him to play. Hayden was a phenomenal all-around athlete who originally signed with Illinois out of Hubbard (Chicago) High. He was a four-year starter on the football team, earning All-State and first-team All-PowerBar team honors as a senior. On defense, he led the team and finished second in the state with 10 interceptions as a freshman. Hayden played quarterback as a sophomore, throwing 21 touchdown passes while rushing for seven more scores. He amassed 2,315 rushing yards and 33 scores as a junior and added 792 yards on the ground as a senior, despite missing seven games with an injury. Hayden was a four-time All-Conference pick and three-time All-Area selection in track. He was a two-time Chicago City League Track Champion in the 55 and 200-meter dashes indoors and the 100 and 200-meter dashes outdoors. He attended Joliet (Ill.) Junior College for two seasons (2001-02), where Hayden became the first wide receiver to ever earn NJCAA National Offensive Player of the Year honor. He gained 1,297 yards and scored 13 times on 72 catches (18.1 avg) as a sophomore and caught 114 passes for 1,839 yards (16.2 avg) and 17 scores during his career. The team compiled a 21-1 record during his two seasons at Joliet JC. Two years after Hayden originally intended on playing for Illinois, he arrived on campus in 2003 and quickly established himself as a big-play receiver. In 10 games, he started eight times at flanker leading the team with 52 receptions for 592 yards (11.4 avg) and three touchdowns. Hayden switched to cornerback in 2004, recording 71 tackles (41 solo) with six pass breakups and tied for the Big Ten Conference lead with four interceptions.
Analysis: Positives... Split high with fairly long legs. ... Solid contributor and team player who can also play on special teams. ... Not really vocal, but well liked by teammates and staff. ... Sees the play develop and reacts quickly, showing good short area speed and quickness to get to the edge and string plays out in run force. ... Has adequate speed, but keeps a tight mirror on the receivers through their routes, easily adjusting to the ball in flight and will not hesitate to get vertical in order to get to the pigskin. ... Plays his responsibilities first and then flies to the ball in zone coverage. ... Does a good job with his hands to execute the press. ... Tracks the ball well and has the range and catch-up acceleration to make plays in front of him. ... Has the body control needed to get to the right spot and time his leaps to get to the ball at its high point. ... Has soft, natural hands, because of his experience as a receiver, he's not often fooled by fakes or double moves. ... Uses his hands effectively to keep blockers off his body in the open field. ... Very physical tackler who breaks down and explodes into the receiver when making the hit.
Negatives... Needs backpedal technique improvement, as he shuffles his feet and needs to open his hips better in transition. ... Lacks experience and played on his natural ability last year, but shows great upside and could be a nice developmental project who will give instant value on special teams while he learns the nuances of playing defense. ...Does not show a quick second gear needed to recover when beaten. ...Struggles to disengage when double teamed and needs to develop more strength in order to play in run support.
Agility tests: N/A.
High school: Attended Hubbard (Chicago) High. ... Was a four-year starter on the football team. ... All-State selection as a wide receiver as a senior. . ..Named to the first-team All-PowerBar team, as he led the team and finished second in the state with 10 interceptions as a freshman cornerback. ... Threw 21 touchdown passes, while rushing for seven more scores as a sophomore quarterback. ... Racked up 2,315 rushing yards and 33 scores as a junior tailback. ... Totaled 792 yards despite missing seven games as a senior. ... Four-time All-Conference pick and three-time All-Area selection. ... Two-time City League Track Champion in the 55 and 200-meter dashes indoors and the 100 and 200-meter dashes outdoors.
Personal: Speech Communications major...Son of Lynette and Hayden Hayden...Born Hayden Darnell Hayden Jr., on 7/23/83...Resides in Chicago, Illinois.
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