Josh Haden, the 5-foot-8, 195 pound running back from Friendly High School in Fort Washington (Md.), has learned a lot from his older brother Joe Haden, who is a cornerback with the Florida Gators.
"When my brother was being recruited last year, I went with him to a bunch of schools," Haden said. "I've already had a chance to look around a lot and get an idea of what I like. Seeing him go through everything was really helpful. I plan to do what he did and commit early.
"I’m gonna try to visit all of the schools in my top five this summer and make my decision before school starts," Haden said. "I just want to make up my mind and know where to go. I think that way I'll be able to focus better and I saw how that benefitted by brother. I'm also planning on graduating early and I'll be ready for spring ball. My brother did that too and that really helped him get on the field and play as a true freshman."
Haden, ranked No. 13 in the East by Scout.com, has approximately 15 scholarship offers and favors Florida slightly over Boston College, Michigan, North Carolina (first to offer) and Pittsburgh. All of his favorites have offered as well as from Ohio State, Tennessee, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Syracuse, Rutgers, Virginia, Illinois and Minnesota.
"I went to the Florida spring game and that was a lot of fun," he said. "It's a great environment over there and my brother loves it there. He tells me to go where I'm comfortable and to make sure that I have a good relationship with the coaches.
"He loves Florida and says he's having a lot of fun, but working really hard."
Although his brother is a Gator, Haden says he always liked Michigan growing up. "I like that they are a running school and I used to like them a lot as a kid," Haden said. "I don't really know a lot about them except for what I see on TV. I'm gonna visit them this summer."
Haden finished his junior season with 900 yards and 12 touchdowns rushing. He also has two touchdowns on kick returns, two touchdowns receiving and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
"I'm real versatile and quick and strong," he said. "I would say I'm a slashing powerback. I'm real strong and can run (4.4 forty), but I want to work on catching out of the backfield. I want to have surer hands."
Haden benches an incredible 405 pounds, squats 600 and has a 39-inch vertical jump.
He reports a 3.0 core GPA and a 16 ACT, which he will retake.