Carroll freshman Jonathan Haden is the latest in the family pipeline of football talent

Jonathan Haden has big shoes to fill as a freshman football player at Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C. Three of his older brothers are football standouts with Joe a 2010 first round draft pick signing with the Cleveland Browns. Although yet to prove himself, Jonathan is touted to be better than his brothers.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 9, 2010; 11:48 PM

Before the high school football season began, Jonathan Haden had five scholarship offers from BCS conference colleges.

Never mind that he's 14 years old, stands 5 feet 5 and weighs 150 pounds - and had never played a game in high school.

What the Carroll freshman did have is pedigree.

Haden is youngest of five brothers from a family that has created a pipeline of top-flight football talent, beginning with Joe, the 2006 All-Met Offensive Player of the Year at Friendly, who was selected eighth overall in April's NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns out of Florida, and continuing with Josh, a 2008 All-Met who signed with Boston College and Jordan, who signed with Florida after a 2009 All-Met season.

While it's too early to say which of the four is the most talented or will be the most successful, Jonathan's arrival is the most hyped.

"Of all my kids," said Joe Haden Sr., "the one with the biggest target on his back is Jonathan. Everyone's been waiting for him. I was more nervous in his first game at Carroll than I was at Joe's first game at Florida."

Jonathan didn't disappoint. The 150-pound freshman rushed for 94 yards and touchdowns of 16 and 24 yards to lead Carroll to a 28-0 victory over Coolidge on Aug. 27. It was a game more anticipated for Colts Coach Natalie Randolph's debut on the sidelines, but ultimately might have been affirmation for college recruiters' speculation about Haden's potential.

"Since I was 9, people always wanted to know what I was doing," said Jonathan, who returns to the field Friday at St. Mary's Ryken after Carroll had last week off. "Back when I was playing for [Marlow Heights Hurricanes] boys club, I was saying, 'I can't wait until I get to high school.' "

Neither could area coaches.

"I got almost as many calls for him as I did with my other sons for college," said Joe Haden Sr., running off a list of schools in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference from DeMatha to Good Counsel to St. John's to Gonzaga, among others. "If you name them in the D.C. area, I got a call from them."

Jonathan said he and his father last spring visited both DeMatha and Good Counsel, schools that have met in the past six WCAC finals. Both programs have appeared on national television multiple times in recent years.

Good Counsel would have made sense, even though the Olney school is far from the Hadens' Upper Marlboro home. Joe Sr. started an athletic training business in 2006, and said he works with about 10 current Good Counsel players, including quarterback Zach Dancel, wide receiver Stefon Diggs, tight end Vincent Croce and running back Wes Brown. Dancel's father, Bernie, who has donated generously to the Falcons' program, even made an intriguing offer to the Hadens.

CONTINUED     1           >

© 2010 The Washington Post Company