Sometimes it takes more than a first impression to know what you like. That seems to be the case with West Orange Stark (TX) speed athlete James Haynes. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound prospect initially visited Texas A&M for an early junior day back in January and came away with a ho-hum feeling about the Aggies.
"I went down there a couple of months ago and it was OK but it didn't really stick out to me," Haynes said. "Honestly, until last weekend A&M really wasn't on my radar too much."
But a second trip to College Station for the Maroon and White spring game this past weekend made a completely different impression on the highly coveted 2010 recruit. The Aggie coaching staff rolled out the red carpet treatment, and it was well-received by the blue chip defensive back.
"Before the trip, my dad told them I wanted to study sports medicine," Haynes said. "So when I get there, the coaches had a biology professor, sports medicine professor, an orthopedic surgeon, and the head trainer all there to give me advice and answer my questions."
Not only did the Orange native receive valuable advice about potential career opportunities and about the power of the Aggie network after graduation, but the fact that the staff went to such lengths to address an interest outside of football meant a lot to him.
"I was blown away. They talked about what I could do as far as careers and really what to expect. They also talked about the close knit former students. Aggies take care of Aggies," Haynes said. "But what I really liked was knowing that the coaches thought enough about me to do that."
Haynes also liked what he saw from the defense on the field during the spring game.
"From what I remember last year, the defense looked much better. You can tell they are making progress," Haynes said. "Coach Sherman said he's going to get back into the Top 10 and when you see the improvement out there, you believe him."
While some schools are recruiting Haynes as an athlete for both sides of the ball, the Aggies see the highly recruited prospect as a defensive back, but whether that's as a cornerback or safety is still up in the air.
"Coach Malone and Coach McMillian were kinda fighting over me. One wanted me at safety and the other wanted me at corner," joked Haynes. "They say it will be up to me and Coach Sherman where I start out if I go there."
While Texas A&M took a big step forward in the race to sign the coveted player, Haynes contends that he's not done with the process and is still open to other schools for a while longer.
"A&M definitely put themselves up there that's for sure, but I'm not ruling anybody out at this point and I want to take some more time," Haynes said. "Right now, I'm feeling four schools – Oklahoma, Florida, Stanford, and Texas A&M. That doesn't mean that list won't change though."
Haynes plans to take in some camps this summer and may have a decision before his senior season but that depends on finding the right school. For now, he's focused on the track season and getting to the state track meet.
"We have the fastest 3A time in the 4x100m and 4x200m so hopefully that holds true at state," Haynes said. "My fastest individual 200m time this season is 22.40 and my personal best is 21.50 so hopefully I'll have a chance at state in that event."
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