Hard Hitting Haynes Healthy For Mocs This Spring

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Updated: 4/18/2013 7:12 pm

Chattanooga-(WDEF) When former Northwest Whitfield star Dean Haynes transferred to Chattanooga last year, he was excited to be closer to home, so his family could see him play. But they had to wait awhile to see the free safety take the field because of a frustrating injury.

After playing a couple of years at North Carolina State as both a running back and defensive back, Dean Haynes transferred to UTC. But just days after stepping on the field in fall camp last August, Haynes literally lost his step. Said Haynes,"Third day of fall camp. Planted on my foot. Just like I normally do every day, and I felt a pop. Was told I had a fracture in my left foot. I couldn't walk for two months. I had to stay off my feet." Said head coach Russ Huesman,"We were a little frustrated. We needed him out there to be honest with you. It was frustrating not having him."

The injury was also a big mental challenge for Haynes. Said Haynes,"I've had to fight with confidence consistently through my career. Being moved around, and then coming here and getting hurt. And then not being the player I wanted to be right off the bat. It was all a test of my confidence. I feel like I've grown stronger as a person and as a player through experiencing all of this." Added Huesman,"He would be so much further along if he wouldn't have gotten injured. He missed a camp. He wasn't here last spring. Missed the whole fall camp, and then missed half the season. That injury set him back more than people think."

Haynes still managed to play six games last season, recording 18 tackles with two for a loss. Now Coach Huesman can't wait to see what a healthy Haynes can do. "I told Dean the other day I thought he was turning into a free safety that I liked to see back there. I think he's a physical player." Said Haynes,"I love to hit. If I can make somebody feel some pain, I would love to." Said Huesman,"He's going to be a factor, and he's going to help us next year."

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