The media "darling" at defensive end in the Southeastern Conference is Texas A&M's Myles Garrett, an extremely gifted athlete who deserves the type of recognition being garnered on him.
But two states over, in Oxford, Miss., another defensive end is roaming the fields of the SEC and creating just as much havoc: Ole Miss junior DE Marquis Haynes.
In fact, Haynes has better numbers than Garrett at this stage of the season. Haynes has 21 tackles and 3 sacks; Garrett has 11 tackles and 3 sacks.
Neither are near the top of the nation in sacks for now, that number is eight, but it's doubtful any A&M fans or any Rebel fans would trade Garrett or Haynes for any DE in the country.
And while we can't speak for how close Garrett has been to better numbers, we can attest to Haynes being mere inches away from at least seven or eight more sacks already and he has caused, at least, two critical fumbles and an interception with hits on opposing QBs - one against Alabama that was returned for a TD and two against Memphis, a fumble recovery and an interception by DT D.J. Jones after Haynes' hits.
Haynes believes he knows how to make up those few inches he is away from making more and more big plays.
"It's just a matter of taking better angles. Against Memphis, I had a chance at seven sacks but I had an off game and didn't take proper angles," he explained. "Coach (Chirs) Kiffin and I have been working hard on what's going to give me the edge and get me over the hump and most of it is technique and angles. I expect to come out of this open week more effective."
Haynes gave the Memphis QB, Riley Ferguson, credit, however.
"He's a strong kid and he wasn't fast but he was good at stepping away from pressure at the last instant. He is going to be a good player for them - he already is," Marquis added.
Haynes is pleased with the progress the defense has made, but he knows they can do even more.
"I think we are doing OK up front - our front four pressure is pretty good and our run support has been OK. Our linebackers are starting to understand where they are supposed to be and their fits and assignments. Once they get those things figured out a little better, we are going to be hard to move teh ball on. I also like the way the back end of our defense is developing, They are young, but they are very talented," Haynes noted. "We just need to play sound football and we'll be OK."
Moving on, what about Arkansas, the Rebs' next opponent after the open week?
"The like to run the ball and play-action off of that," said Marquis. "They run a little bit of everything, so we have to be sharp and focused. They run several different schemes and we will have to recognize them and react quickly. We are working on a lot of Arkansas stuff during the open week. It's a big game and we need to be on our tuned in. We are also using the open week to heal our bodies and get ready for the stretch run."
Haynes remembers last year's game with the Hogs vividly.
"When the game was over, my teammates were there for me. I made a mistake at the end, but my teammates wouldn't let me dwell on it," said Haynes. "They told me to keep playing hard and move on because we still had a lot of football to play and a lot to play for. All we hear now is 4th-and-25. We've got to forget that. This is an entirely different Arkansas team just like we are an entirely different team in a lot of ways. Yesterday is gone. Time to move on and get after it next weekend in Fayetteville."
Hog QB Brandon Allen lit the Rebels up last year. This year, his younger brother, Austin, is at the helm.
"The brother is still learning a lot of things - when to run, when to throw," Marquis closed. "He gets frustrated when he gets hit a lot, like the game they have with Texas A&M. He is tough, but I think if we can hit him we can rattle him."
Marquis Haynes is, literally, inches away from putting up some monster sack numbers.
His intention is to make up that minute distance during the open week.