Haynes An 'Explosive Athlete'

FORK UNION, Va. --- While discussing North Carolina pledge Marquis Haynes, John Shuman, Fork Union Military Academy's head coach, used the term "explosive" several times and drew comparisons to a couple ACC greats.

"He's an explosive-type athlete," Shuman said. "Man, he looks like Lawrence Taylor to me sometimes.

"But he reminds me of a guy that we had here, Darryl Blackstock. It was the same thing – play linebacker, play down, bounce up, play some tight end."

Listed at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds on FUMA's roster, Haynes plays defensive end in a base three-man front.

"We really like Marquis," Shuman said. "He's an explosive athlete. He's a slash type player – he could play down or he could play up at linebacker. We feel he gives us the best pressure coming off the edge."

While he certainly provided pressure on Sunday during FUMA's 48-12 victory over Georgia Preps – four tackles, including a sack, plus a QB hit – it was his interception late in the first half that had the biggest impact. Down 10-6, Georgia Preps was driving into FUMA territory when a pass bounced off a receiver and into Haynes's hands.

"I was rushing off the edge, the ball popped up, I grabbed it, and started going," Haynes said. "I was trying to score. It brought back memories when I used to play wide receiver, so I just had to use my moves and just go and break out that speed."

Haynes returned the interception 66 yards to the 14-yard line and 15 seconds before halftime. If not for a trip up by the last man between him and the end zone, Haynes would have scored a touchdown. Instead, on the ensuing play Clemson pledge Kyrin Priester caught a quick out and ran to pay dirt giving FUMA a 17-6 lead and momentum at the half.

For UNC, Shuman believes Haynes will fit perfectly within its 4-2-5 defensive scheme.

"I would say he'd be the Bandit starting off and then in the nickel it would not shock me if they put him down in a three-point [stance] and rush him," Shuman said.

Haynes doesn't care where he lines up.

"Wherever the coach puts me at, I'm going to go all out," Haynes said.

Like Blackstock, Haynes was sent to FUMA to improve his academic situation.

"We're happy with Marquis," Shuman said. "He's doing the right stuff here. Academically he's growing and we know how important academics are at UNC."

Unlike Blackstock, Haynes had to travel 650 miles north to prep at FUMA. That meant in addition to adjusting to a military lifestyle, Haynes had to adjust to a change climate.

"I treat it like playoff time," Haynes said. "This is how cold it is during playoff time."

When comparing his core GPA and ACT score on the NCAA Clearinghouse's sliding scale, Haynes says he's qualified. However, he's awaiting official clearance from both the Clearinghouse and UNC admissions. If everything checks out, he'll enroll in January. In the meantime, he's taking a math course and continues to take the ACT for precautionary reasons.

"We're feeling pretty good," Shuman said. "He got an A first term. He jumped in there and squeezed some more ACT points. We're real comfortable that the [UNC] admissions people will bring him in.

"We just have to get everything into the [NCAA] Clearinghouse and make sure it gets certified, but we're feeling pretty good."

Haynes, who visited UNC for the Thursday night game against Miami, will return to Chapel Hill for its regular season finale against Duke since FUMA is on Thanksgiving break that weekend.

"I want to see if the team can finish off strong," Haynes said. "I know we've been down this year, but I just want to finish it off as a team. I think we'll be ready to go."

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