Haynes Gets Tar Heel Offer

North Carolina offered Bryce Haynes, a long snapper from Cumming (Ga.) Pinecrest Academy, a scholarship on Tuesday night.

"They were just trying to figure out if it would be possible for them to offer me," Haynes said. "[Tuesday] night they called me and told me that it was pretty possible to give me a scholarship."

Both of UNC's long snappers, Mark House and Trevor Stuart, graduate following the 2011 season. Of the two, only Stuart is on scholarship.

"I think they noticed they were going to need [a long snapper] coming up," Haynes said. "And they really felt like I was the person for the job."

According to Chris Rubio, who is regarded as one of the top long snapping coaches in the nation, UNC consulted with him while deciding to offer Haynes.

"This is my ninth year [holding long snapping camps nationwide] and [Haynes] is in the top five of the kids I've ever had coming out of high school – I think [the UNC coaches] noticed that right off the bat," Rubio said. "He's someone you could just lock down. It would be like recruiting a star quarterback and knowing you wouldn't have to worry about [the position] for the next four years. And that's basically what they wanted with the long snapper position. They want to sign Bryce and not have to worry about the position for the next four years."

Although UNC defeated Florida State last Saturday, a botched snap on a punt set up a go-ahead touchdown for FSU with five minutes remaining in the game.

"I would say [the botched snap] definitely lead them in the direction [to offer]," Rubio said. "You see it enough and eventually you're like ‘Yeah, we've got to make a change here.'"

Haynes is the No. 1 ranked long snapper in the nation for the 2011 class, according to Rubio, whose camps are in conjunction with Chris Sailer's Kicking Camps.

"What makes Bryce stand out is, No. 1 he's very long – he's a long 6-foot-4," Rubio said. "He's very flexible, he has great hips he's very accurate, and he can block, as well.

"He can snap the ball [quickly] – he's probably the top three in the country in speed alone. A college coach would look for [a snap] in the .78[-second] range for when [the snapper] moves to when the punter catches it. And Bryce is hitting in the low .6s. He's just ridiculously fast."

UNC is the only school to have offered Haynes a scholarship. However, he's in regular contact with Alabama, Florida, and Northwestern – all of which have offered a walk-on spot.

Haynes lists Alabama, Florida, and UNC as his "top three," but says he's leaning towards the Tar Heels.

"Right now, [UNC] is my top school," Haynes said. "It's my only offer and I love the school. I just want to make sure I really do my homework before I make any serious commitments."

Haynes is visiting UNC on Nov. 20 for the NC State game. Although there have been some discussions about making that visit an official trip, nothing has been formally established.

"I'm really going to get a good look and feel for the school and campus," Haynes said. "Shortly after that, I'll probably make my decision – or try to – because I think I'll find out up there if I think I belong there or not. I really want to learn more about the academic side of the school."

Northwestern has also discussed the possibility of having Haynes officially visit.

Although he played center and defensive end this season, Haynes has primarily been a wide receiver and long snapper during his prep career. It wasn't until the summer of '09 that he realized he could long snap in college.

"I've always been pretty average at [long snapping]," Haynes said. "And then the summer before my junior year, I went to a camp at Georgia and one of the coaches took interest in me, so that sparked something."

After discussing the possibilities with his father, Haynes attended a Rubio long snapping camp last December.

"There, I really learned how to snap – I learned the proper technique," Haynes said. "And then I just went home and practiced it a lot. I just got so good at it just from practicing it so much and practicing it the right way."

That potential sparked Haynes to tour the southeast this past summer with camp stops at Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, and UNC.

"My friend Joe, who's my punter, and I actually did a three-day trip where we hit Tennessee, Kentucky, and Alabama," Haynes said. "We covered a lot of ground in three days.

"There were times I didn't think I was going to be able to make it, just from being exhausted [and] being out in the sun all day. Especially when we went down to Alabama, we got three hours of sleep that night… It was definitely a tough experience, but I'm really glad I did it."

Besides exhaustion, Haynes grabbed the interest of several coaching staffs, including UNC.

"Ever since then I've been keeping in touch with Coach [Allen] Mogridge," Haynes said. "He just always told me that they're looking to see if they could pull [a scholarship offer] off and he'll let me know as soon as he finds out. I think this really came down to him trying to persuade Butch Davis to offer a long snapper."

Haynes continued visiting schools into the season by attending games at UNC (versus Georgia Tech), Florida (versus Miami (Ohio) and LSU), Auburn (versus LSU), and Alabama (versus Mississippi).

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