He can’t stop at one bowl. Or, in this case, one sack.
“After you get your first sack, you’re challenging yourself to get more and more and more,” he said. “It’s like eating cereal. You can’t stop. You gotta keep going.”
The Rebels certainly hope the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Haynes gets more than his fill in 2015.
Haynes was a freshman All-America first team selection last season after he tied for ninth in the SEC with an Ole Miss freshman record of 7.5 sacks. He also tied for second in the conference and 24th in the nation with three forced fumbles, and his 9.0 tackles for loss tied for the Ole Miss lead.
“My first year I was real nervous,” Haynes said. “You grow up watching Alabama, LSU and you never think of being in the same game as them like that, on the same field. I’m not really nervous anymore. I’m ready to just go out there and do what I know I can do best.”
Haynes said he’s “really confident” and “ready to rock and roll” with the Rebels’ season-opening game against UT Martin fast-approaching Sept. 5. Understandable. Haynes, who played all of last season at around 215-220 pounds is up to 225. His goal weight in the offseason was 240, but he said he’s “solid muscle, all strong in the legs and arms.”
Now it’s time to build upon his promising debut campaign, one that saw Haynes play in every game with four starts at defensive end. He recorded 31 tackles and recovered one fumble.
“My best strength when it’s time to get to the quarterback is my first step,” he said. “If I see (the) feet (of an opposing offensive lineman) are slow, I’m going to try to beat around him. If he tries to jump out there, I’m going to go inside. It’s all about how he opens up.”
He’s also working to become more of a leader for an Ole Miss defense that is expected to again be among the nation’s best.
“We’ve got some good leaders,” Haynes said. “You can lead by not saying anything. I just lead by example. I don’t like to talk too much. But if somebody has a problem - like Victor Evans, who’s like my little brother - and asks for my help, I’m there for them. We’ll go watch film, we’ll go through the plays and stuff like that.”
And when the film is on, Haynes stands out. There’s an art to pass rush, and Haynes is out to master it.
He’s certainly shown flashes of brilliance early in his career, from a sack and a quarterback hurry in his first college against Boise State, to his best effort to date against Tennessee. Haynes notched five tackles, 2.5 sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recover and another hurry.
“When you get around the corner and you see that quarterback right there and you go and hit him, it’s an amazing feeling,” he said. “My first sack against Boise State was like the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life.
“I was ready for more.”
Like eating cereal.