JOSHUA — The Joshua Owls’ most productive player from the past three years was selected to play in the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl at AT&T Stadium on Monday.
Joshua senior Hayden Chittum was one of a select few on the field at the home of the Dallas Cowboys as a part of the West Team, which prevailed over the East, 23-20, in overtime.
“To be selected to play in the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl was very exciting,” Chittum said. “It was truly an honor to be nominated to play for such a great organization. It was awesome to compete against and alongside some of the best high school football players in the country.
“Less than half of the kids were from Texas, so I had the chance to play with athletes from all over the United States. Everyone was very talented so I had to step up my game even more so. Being smaller than most of these guys, I wanted to show them I could compete with the best of them and I believe I did.”
Joshua Athletic Director Mike Burt said it was a huge honor for Chittum and it’s always a big deal to have a player represented at an all-star game.
“That was very exciting,” Burt said. “Any time you can get your kids recognized with the opportunity to perform in an all-star game, it’s always a plus. No. 1, it’s a plus for the kid to participate and No. 2, it’s a plus for the program to have a kid out there representing you. It’s a win-win deal.”
The Blue-Grey All-American Bowl was established in 1989 as an opportunity for high school prospects from all over the country to receive national exposure and showcase their abilities one last time in hopes of securing a scholarship to college.
And having that chance to continue his career at the next level has long been a goal of Chittum’s.
“I want to play college football,” Chittum said. “It’s been a dream of mine since I was little.”
Chittum didn’t hold any offers prior to the game, but Burt said he’s had recruiters showing interest in Chittum lately.
“A lot of it based upon a college’s needs,” Burt said. “Right now, Hayden will be recruited as an athlete, and probably play slot receiver. He’s tough, he’ll catch it in a crowd, he’ll block, he’s got really good hands and he runs a 4.4 in the 40. That’s always a good thing. I’ve had several recruiters come through here the last several weeks saying they like what they see. It’s just a matter of who they want for their program.”
Chittum said even though he may not have the measurables most colleges look for, he would bring an elite commitment level and playmaking ability to whoever offers him.
“[In my sales pitch to a college recruiter], I would tell them, I’m teachable,” Chittum said. “I can learn anything they throw my way. I’m committed on and off the field. I’m fast and quick on my feet and I make plays. I may not have the height or weight most colleges are looking for, but I make up for it in speed and field vision. I can compete with any football player out there and prove I can get the job done. I’m committed 100 percent to making this dream come true.”
Chittum played running back for the West team and had several carries. During his three-year varsity career with the Owls, Chittum filled many roles offensively. And Burt said that versatility may be Chittum’s best asset.
“The biggest thing about Hayden is his versatility,” Burt said. “This year we opened up our offense more and utilized different positions on the field, which accentuated his abilities. Prior to that he was the ‘T-back’ in our Slot-T offense and did well in it even as a sophomore on varsity. I think what you could see throughout his career was his versatility and that’s why he’s being recruited as an athlete. He can return kicks for a touchdown, throw touchdowns, run for touchdowns, and catch touchdowns.”
Chittum was a second-team all-district selection this year for District 9-5A. As a junior, Chittum received first-team honors on both the All-Johnson County and all-district teams.
The West Team was coached by former NFL player Mark McMillian, and Chittum’s position coach for the game was former NFL fullback Larry Centers.
Article written by Cleburne Times Review