Hayden reportedly plans to enter transfer portal

COLUMBUS — Ohio State football’s stacked backfield will reportedly lose a veteran member this spring.

Third-year running back Dallan Hayden has informed the coaching staff he plans to enter the NCAA transfer portal, per multiple reports. The spring transfer portal window opens a week from Tuesday and runs through April 30.

Ohio State completes its final week of spring practice with the annual spring game on Saturday. That scrimmage likely would have reinforced Hayden’s status as No. 3 on the depth chart, behind three-year starter TreVeyon Henderson and Ole Miss transfer Quinshon Judkins.

Hayden showed promise as a true freshman. He rushed for 100 or more yards three times that season, including twice in extended backup snaps in Big Ten play. However, his role was minimized for the Michigan game and the playoff semifinal against Georgia, even with injuries to Henderson and Miyan Williams.

Ohio State’s coaches protected Hayden’s redshirt last season, and he played only three games in his second year. However, the benefit of that arrangement always seemed questionable — especially after Judkins then joined the roster.

Hayden also said last week he was sad about former running back coach Tony Alford’s departure to Michigan one week into spring practice. He said Alford was one of the main reasons he came to OSU.

The son of former NFL running back Aaron Hayden, he averaged 5.1 yards per carry with six touchdowns on his 130 career carries.

His departure puts some urgency on new running backs coach Carlos Locklyn to prepare freshman James Peoples for a pivotal No. 3 back role this fall. Ohio State could also look into the portal for running back help later this month.