James is listed as an athlete by most services. Where all did you have him play this year, and where does he plan on staying next year?
"James was over at safety on defense, and then he played wide receiver for us and was also used sparingly at running back. He'll be in those same positions next year, but we'll probably use him a little bit more at running back because we just need to make sure and get the ball in his hands more. He also returned kicks for us this past year."
What about James' play makes him so special and successful?
"Probably his combination of size and speed. He is a 4.4 guy, and his weight is at 185 pounds so a lot of schools like that about him, plus he has great hands. He's a track guy, he does the long jump, triple jump, relays, and I think his 200m is somewhere like 21.8 so he's got all that going for him."
How about James' intangibles, such as work ethic, personality, leadership, etc.?
"James is a real character kid, his intangibles are very solid. He is a ‘yes sir' ‘no sir' type of kid, and really smart; he does really well in the classroom. He and a group of kids recently went to the inauguration, so he is really involved in school and things like that. He also has good work ethic; he tries really hard and makes sure to take care of himself."
If you had to recruit him as a college coach, what position would you lean towards putting him at?
"I'd probably put him at receiver, I think that is where his upside is. He's fast, tall, and has good hands, so those are the main ingredients for being a good receiver. He is also smart like I said, but he is smart in games too so his routes are run well and he knows right where to be. He goes where you tell him every play."
What is one thing he needs to work on in his game?
"James needs to work on getting tougher. He needs to be more physical, and that is something he'll work on and improve on during the year. We saw a big improvement from him between his sophomore year and his junior year, and I'm sure we'll see that out of him this next year as well."
When you say ‘getting tougher', in what aspect of the game do you mean it?
"It's nothing specific, just a general meanness on the football field that James hasn't totally worked out yet. He still does all the little things well, you'd just like him to have a take no prisoners mentality sometimes a little more. Part of that also goes with not getting the ball to him as much as we'd like."
If he hasn't had as much opportunity with the ball, why do you think his stock is so high right now?
"It's because James loves to go out to all those camps, and he always does really well. With his 4.4 time, and on all of his skill tests, he's always near the top of his class out there and that has gotten him a lot of attention."
What school's is he hearing from?
"He's hearing from everybody. Stanford, Texas A&M and about every other Big 12 school, and others too, he's gotten a lot of interest."
How's he feeling about recruitment?
"At this point I think he is still in the taking-it-all-in stage. He's just having fun."
Is there one play that stands out to you this year as why he is so special?
"It was probably our first game against Nederland. It was a crucial play in the first half, it was something like 3rd and 13 and we had the ball and were struggling, and James ran this perfect post route, and the ball was thrown well behind him but he made a great adjustment and catch and came down with it for a big gain to the eight yard line. We ended up scoring on that drive and ended up winning the game as well, so that was a really big deal."
Coach's Corner: James Haynes
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