After only a few days of training camp, observers said rookie cornerback Casey Hayward looked amazing comfortable with his surroundings. Some players struggle with a move to a new city, but to Hayward, Green Bay already feels a lot like home. After being raised in the small town of Perry, Georgia, Hayward said he’s more used to cities like Green Bay than New York or Chicago. “I lived in Perry, Georgia, small town, not too many famous people or what not.”
Casey’s parents were his inspiration growing up and encouraged his football dream. Just like Green Bay, Perry is a football-crazed town. Hayward’s been on the field since the age of five, playing just about every position on the field along the way. By his senior year of high school, he was starting at cornerback and quarterback. Hayward led his team to the state quarterfinals by amassing over 2,500 total yards and scoring 36 touchdowns. His performance earned him the region’s 4-AAA Player of the Year; he was also named an All-State defensive back and All-Middle Georgia player. In addition to his impressive resume on the football field, Casey was a starting guard in basketball and sprinter on the track and field team.
Hayward weighed multiple scholarship offers coming out of high school, but he ultimately choose Vanderbilt because of his interest in pursuing a degree in sociology. Once he arrived at Vanderbilt he was exclusively used as a cornerback and contributed immediately. His experience playing quarterback in high school gave him a unique ability to read offenses. In 2011, his senior season, Hayward put together one of the finest seasons ever by a Commodore defensive back and became the first Vanderbilt All-American in four years.
Casey received attention at the 2012 NFL Combine from scouts who praised his intelligence, instincts and ability to recognize routes. His 15 career interceptions were tied for the most in school history. His ball-hawking ability was no doubt an attraction to Green Bay, who selected Casey in the second round. We’ll see if Green Bay still feels like home to the rookie come winter.