D.J. Hayden: From Near-Death To First-Round Pick

By DEEPI SIDHU, SportsRadio 610

HOUSTON (CBS Houston) –  The Cougar cornerback is headed for Raider Nation. The Oakland Raiders, who traded down from the #3 spot with Miami, selected D.J. Hayden with the twelfth overall pick.

D.J. Hayden,the 6-0 and 190-pound cornerback from the University of Houston, had been the feel-good story of the 2013 NFL Draft.  In November 2012, Hayden collided with a teammate during practice and was rushed to the hospital when he had difficulty breathing.  Hayden had a torn inferior vena cava, a major vein near the heart, that required emergency surgery.  His prognosis was grim as doctors told him his injury was 95-percent fatal.  Hayden did not return to the Cougars lineup but was still named to the All-Conference USA team.  Hayden’s recovery was nothing short of phenomenal as he recovered in time for a March pro-day and ran a 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds.

Hayden, a native Houstonian, played for the 2010 junior college national championship with Navarro College before starting for the Cougars.  Hayden finished seventh in the nation with five forced fumbles as a junior.  He was named Conference USA defensive newcomer of the year with 66 tackles and two interceptions.  Hayden’s career stats in his two seasons at the University of Houston include six interceptions, 229 yards, and 3 touchdowns in 22 games.

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