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Justice Haynes, the son of former Georgia great Verron Haynes, breaks down the significance of the UGA offer he picked up on Monday.

Justice Haynes: Big-time sophomore RB breaks down a legacy offer from UGA

Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. This entry shares the best possible first window into the Justice Haynes story and a very big recent offer from Georgia. 

There is finally some Justice among the approximate 50-something offers Georgia has extended in the Class of 2023.

Justice Haynes, the son of Georgia great battering ram tailback Verron Haynes, picked up a long-awaited offer Monday from his Pop’s alma mater.

“It was a tremendous honor,” Justice Haynes said. “Tremendous blessing. God is great. Georgia means so much because I grew up there. I live in Georgia. I was there because of my Dad. I’m always at Georgia. I go to a game every year.”

As fate might have it, he also picked up a Florida offer. That one actually came first. His mother, Brandi Gowdy, went to Florida as an undergrad.

“Even with Florida, my Mom went there,” Justin Haynes said. “I’ve been to Florida countless times. It was just a true honor.”

But she did get her graduate degree at UGA. When you learn this young man’s story, a lot of thoughts will swirl and churn together.

Hyperbaric chambers. The 4.0 grade-point average. A Georgia/Florida house divided that will apply to the Haynes family. Props from Jerome Bettis and how it led to a “Bussy” nickname. Being a 5-star teammate. Thursdays are trash days. The room check is on Friday. Congratulatory messages from a pair of former coaches at UGA. 

The one thing that is clear is that this is by no means a projectable offer. Haynes and his team spent 28 days off the field due to quarantine and COVID-19. The first four games of the original schedule were called off.

Haynes still has a pair of games in which he put up five total touchdowns and at least 250 rushing yards in each. His “off” game featured one rushing score, one passing score and 107 of his 181 total yards on the ground.

That’s continuing what he did for a 2019 state championship team as a freshman: 201 carries for 1793 yards; 8.9 yards per rushing attempt; 18 touchdowns

What did his proud Dad have to say about the legacy offer?

“Honestly I was very very happy,” Verron Haynes said. “I was thrilled. I know it is something that Justice has been wanting for a long time. This is his journey. Obviously, honestly being a Georgia grad with a little selfishness I would love for him to go there but I’m just a fan now. I’m enamored by all of this. Just like everybody else is. I’m taking it all in.”

(Quick funny side story: When the Georgia/Florida game rolls around every year, there is some wagering in the Haynes home. “Absolutely,” Verron Haynes said. “You are definitely going to feel it. You are going to have to do laundry. You’re doing it all for a week.” 

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Justice Haynes has 710 rushing yards and 12 total touchdowns through three games so far this fall. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

An interesting kid: Getting to know Justice Haynes

There’s a real good story to kick things off with Haynes. When he has big games, he wants to go get his Blessed Trinity offensive line some Chick-Fil-A. He told them he wanted to take them all to the upscale Roswell Stoney River steakhouse after a recent game.

His lineman said that would be too much. Just some good Hibachi would be fine.

“I love each and every one of them,” he said of his O-line. “Actually every Saturday I bring them Chick-Fil-A. They do a great job every week. They come out here work hard. They are tremendous. They are great friends of mine. They are always working hard to get better.”

Those guys help BT football eat. And Haynes eat.

Blessed Trinity coach Tim McFarlin sees that as a telling point in his maturity.

“The key for him is to bring everybody with him and good things will happen,” McFarlin said. “Listen a lot of people are going to tell him a lot of things he wants to hear in recruiting. That’s the way it goes. The only people that matter in all of this are the guys in that locker room of his.”

McFarlin wondered where was his head coach’s invite to the fancy dinner, but he loves seeing his dynamic tailback do something like that and then make it a habit.

“It is exactly what you hope to see,” he said. “I think it lets you know he’s on the right road.”

He’s currently rated as the nation’s No. 4 RB and No. 45 overall prospect (247Sports Composite ratings) for 2023. Haynes is currently outpacing that early evaluation so far this fall.

This could already be the best back in Georgia this fall. Period. Forget the grade levels.

“He earns what he gets,” his right tackle Ty Furnish said. “He works really hard. Everything he gets [in football] I think he will earn it. I don’t think he gets anything [on the field] for free.”

“His genetics are very nice of course but he puts in a lot of time I know.”

These big games are not by accident.

“He wakes up early in the mornings and goes to get a workout,” senior right guard John Ryan said. “During school, he gets a workout in and then comes to practice. He just goes really hard.”

What is his father proudest of right now? He said it was his maturity.

“That’s not just on the field,” his father said on Monday. “It is off the field. There are certain things that his Mom and I require. Thursdays are trash. Whenever he is driving, I ask him to do certain things. He is going to get the test tomorrow. He is. But I ask him to keep his license or his permit right up on the dash. Certain things I don’t have to remind him about. The room check is on Friday. It is clean. It is those kinds of qualities. I told you already his grades are impeccable because his Mom doesn’t play that. Our oldest daughter is at NYU on a full academic scholarship. She does not play when it comes to grades. But the biggest thing for me is his maturity on and off the field and how has handled it thus far. That’s been my proudest moments.”

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Justice Haynes blew up for 359 yards on 39 carries with five total touchdowns in his last game at Calhoun. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Justice Haynes: Big birthday weekend for the All-American

Justice Haynes carried the ball 39 times for 359 yards last week at Calhoun. He scored five touchdowns. That magnitude of that feat has been reported as the first time a strong Calhoun program has not lost at home in 10 years.

Check out some clips of his night.

It was a workhorse kind of night. Looking back on it now, his coach thinks that was way too many carries. Not just for a sophomore running back. But for any back.

“Well, it was a mistake,” McFarlin said. “I had no idea it was 39 times.”

Thanks to quarantine and COVID-19 rescheduling, it was the first game for Blessed Trinity in 28 days.

“Our target for him is 25 carries,” McFarlin said. “It went to 39 in a hurry really without us realizing it. We’ve got to be a little more intentional about how many times he touches the ball.”

Haynes said he was a little bit sore on Monday afternoon.

“I’m a little bit sore but I have a hyperbaric chamber, microcurrent and cryo and all of that stuff to repair my body,” he said. “So I’m good right now.”

With those offers piling up over the weekend, it meant that his father could save some money on greens fees for his surging golf game. Haynes didn’t need an iPhone Pro Max 12 or a set of shiny new keys. He was getting some priceless scholarship offers.

“Dell [McGee] is a straight shooter,” Verron Haynes said.

They spoke last fall on his two recruiting trips to UGA last fall. It was odd. Haynes was now bringing his folks to a UGA game on tickets for the first time. It had been the other way around for so many years in Athens. Haynes said McGee knew who Justice was and was impressed with his highlights.

“He checked on him during the quarantine,” Verron Haynes said. “Justice works out with [RB trainer] Robert Edwards and Dell and Robert are very close. So he called to check-in and see how the young man was doing and I had a great appreciation for that. For him to reach out. He said that he was going to offer [Justice] but he just wanted to see how he comes out as a sophomore.”

McGee wanted to see if the younger Haynes rested on an eye-opening freshman year. Or if he got better.

“I liked that,” Verron Haynes said. “Nothing is given to you. He had to earn it. That is very very admirable for Dell and the University of Georgia. He wanted to make sure and ensure that Justice didn’t take his freshman season and just chillax and relax the whole off-season even though we had a bunch of adversity with the coronavirus. He still worked hard.”

Breaking down Justice Haynes: A sample of expert opinion

When Verron was at this age, he wasn’t even playing football yet in New York. It was before he moved down to Georgia.

He was about 5-foot-9 in height and weighed 175 pounds. Justice is a little shy of the 5-foot-11 mark and about 191 pounds now.

There’s a good question that pops up: What does the running style for Justice Haynes look like? Is it his father? Does he run like anyone? What is his game? Check out the responses to those two topics:

Former Georgia great and NFL first-round pick Robert Edwards (his trainer): “He’s a workaholic. He’s a quiet kid by nature. His drive is to be better than his Dad, better than me, or anyone you could compare him, too. Super competitive. If comparing him, I would compare him to Terrell Davis (Balance and patience) and Adrian Peterson (yards after contact and explosive) right now but he’s still young and developing and that comparison could change.”

Former Georgia great and eight-year NFL vet Verron Haynes: “It is nothing of me. With Justice, I’ve helped him a little bit when he was younger more so. Just assisting him with the development stuff. Like what do you look for when you are going through the line, right? What are you reading? First of all, you’re not supposed to be looking at the lineman. You’re reading the linebackers on to the safeties. Every year, he’s always gotten a little bit more. We tried to develop that. One year, honestly this was in the second grade, he couldn’t catch a cold standing butt naked in Alaska. I kid you not. But I always ask tough questions. What is your weakest part of the game? He’s not here to tell you right now, but he would tell you I am brutally honest with him on that.” 

Justice Haynes: “A little bit of like Saquon [Barkley] and Le’Veon Bell with the patience and Saquon with the explosiveness and speed and power. … I feel like I have some similar comparisons as Jerome Bettis, too. With my footwork and stuff like that, too. I try to model my game after all the running backs and look up to all the greats.”

Blessed Trinity coach Tim McFarlin: “It is a combination. It is power. It is speed. It is the moves. What’s really impressive with him are his hands out of the backfield. We haven’t utilized that yet. We need to as we grow the offense. His running style is unique but he is really a complete player.” 

Did you know the weekly DawgNation.com “Before the Hedges” program is now available as an Apple podcast? Click to check it out and download it. 

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Check out the lower body and the definition of the legs for Justice Haynes. It is what sets him apart at first glance with the eyeball test. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Name-calling: We’ve got to share this Justice Haynes stuff

That’s an uncommon first name. What’s the genesis of that? For starters, his mother wasn’t a lawyer. He doesn’t have another sibling named “Liberty” of anything like that.

“Mom –  it came to her in a dream,” Verron Haynes said. “It was revealed to her in a dream one time and she woke up. She said his name is going to be Justice. So that’s what we named him.”

But it is one of those names in a home that will really only apply to his government-issued I.D. and his soon-to-be-earned driver’s license.

“We call him Bussy,” his father said. “Get this, when I played with the Steelers here. Again, we have a competitive household. Dad wasn’t his favorite player. It was Jerome [Bettis] and Jerome came to one of. his games one time.”

Bettis was an early game for Justice once. He noticed the flash and the style.

“He was like ‘Man, he’s running hard ‘ and ‘He runs like me like a little bus’ and so it stuck with him,” Verron Haynes said. “So we called him ‘Jus the Bus’ and hence his nickname now. We call him Bussy.”

What did the Georgia offer really mean to Justice Haynes? 

Justice Haynes called the Bulldogs “a huge contender” for his eventual college decision. But he’s in no rush right now. While he is a fiery competitor on the field, he already can deliver a competent and polished interview.

“But just like every school, though,” Haynes said. “Georgia I love the atmosphere. It is that home feeling but just like every other school, my options are always open. I’m looking for the best fit for me at the time.”

What is he looking for? That answer will trace to his current 4.0 grade-point average.

“I’m a student-athlete,” he said. “I’m trying to major in business. So I’m looking for the business aspect of the school and how good they are in business. Then also the coaches. How long they are going to be there? Are they just trying to leave? Then the family aspect of it and what they are about.”

There is no specific timetable in mind. Maybe just only a general thought when it comes to that. McFarlin wants him to be where his feet are right now. It sounds like Haynes is doing just that.

“It is kind of just when the time is right when I want to commit,” Haynes said. “If I had to choose a time right now, it would probably be my junior year. That would be a time I’d like to do it.”

It seems simplistic to not say to watch Georgia here. When he picked up the offer, there were congratulatory text messages sent that day by former UGA coaches Jim Donnan and Mark Richt.

“He got love from two former UGA coaches,” Verron Haynes said. “Coach Donnan and Coach Richt texted me and told me to tell him congratulations. They had been watching him. I was like ‘Dude’ that was just big, man.”

SENTELL’S INTEL

(the recent reads on DawgNation.com)

 

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