Commit Date: 8/6/08
The old adage that speed kills might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it sure is close. Pure speed is a skill that can't be taught and it's a weapon that has no equal. So, when teams have the opportunity to secure the services of just such a weapon, coaches and fans alike start devising ways to utilize it. Enter Dean Haynes, North Carolina State's latest verbal commitment, a player who is used to filling many roles, and one who has the speed and skill to do it at the next level.
Below are the pros and cons of the Wolfpack's latest verbal.
Speed: An absolute burner, Haynes possesses elite speed. He utilizes it in many ways, including QB, CB, Safety and KO/Punt Returner, and he performs at a high level. His team employs the Appalachian State offense and he is clearly the focal point, running zone option and QB counters, etc, and he is a homerun threat every time he touches the ball.
At safety, he is able to fill the alley quickly and doesn't allow runners to clear back into the open field. His coverage skills are a bit raw, but he has the speed to compensate for any inadequacies and does not get into match-up problems. Where he might be the most dangerous, though, is at kick and punt returner. He has run kickoffs back against elite competition and teams always try to kick away from him
Strength: Haynes has an uncanny physical strength, though most are unaware of it. He is a very sound tackler and once he makes contact, he does not miss. Switches back and forth from CB to S and really unloads from both spots. His ability to make the big hit, once again, stems from his strength. With the ball in his hands, he is very hard to tackle one-on-one.
He maintains a low center of gravity and runs through defenders with relative ease for someone his size. Combined with his speed, Haynes's strength makes him one of the more physically-complete players.
Toughness: Haynes is visibly a physically-tough young man. He takes a lot of shots on offense and special teams, and he doesn't shirk his defensive responsibilities. What isn't obvious right away, though, is that he is one of the more mentally-tough players you will come across. Doesn't get rattled by adversity and plays through mistakes.
While he is becoming a more vocal leader, Haynes isn't one to get too high or too low. He will push his teammates, but you will rarely, if ever, hear him being negative. Plays just as a hard in the fourth quarter as he does in the first.
Hips: This may be a bit of a reach, and it's something that he is outgrowing anyway, but Haynes is a little stiff in the hips. He is obviously elusive enough to get out in space and capitalize on his speed, but it does appear to inhibit him laterally at times. He has moved to Safety this year and will flourish, but he still has the athleticism and feet of a corner. What might at times appear to be stiffness could just be the fact that Haynes plays hard and exerts himself every play.
This is a big pickup for NC State. Haynes provides a legitimate big-play threat on special teams (where he could play early) and could develop into a high-level defender. He has elite speed and knows how to use it, and he has a chance to be one of the more special players in the league. Haynes is a high-character guy and he adds instant value to the locker room. He will stay out of trouble and will graduate.