Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Countdown 2010 Preview: Honorable Mention

114 Days to go. In just two weeks, we begin the 100 day countdown to the start of the 2010 football season. As I mentioned last week, this year we will be counting down the 100 greatest players in Georgia history. Myself and the other guys here at B 'n E have been working on the list, and let me say it has not been an easy task. Trying to find the right balance between positions and players from different eras and then comparing them to each other is really tough.

Today, I'd like to offer a sneak peek at what is to come over the next few months. There have been a lot players that we originally had on the list that we have since removed. Names like Quinton Lumpkin, Boss Bailey, and Thomas Brown, just to name a few. But one player that has sparked quite a bit of debate has been Verron Haynes. During the final 6 games of the 2001 season, Haynes was easily one of the best players at Georgia in a long time. But does half a season combined with a legendary play make a player a great? Here is our pick for the Honorable Mention slot of the 100 Greatest Players in Georgia History, Verron Haynes.

Verron Haynes, Running Back #35 (1999-2001)

All it takes is one great moment to turn a mediocre career into something great. For Verron Haynes, that moment came in Knoxville in 2001. Haynes was born in Trinidad and spent his early years in New York, before moving to Atlanta, Georgia where he played football at North Springs High School. He began his collegiate career at Western Kentucky, but transferred to Georgia in 1999. His first two years in Athens were nothing to write home about, as Haynes played sparingly as a blocking back under Coach Jim Donnan. A senior on Coach Mark Richt’s first team at Georgia, Haynes demanded that Coach Richt get him the ball as Georgia took on top 5 ranked Tennessee. Haynes had already caught three passes when Georgia came flying down the field trailing 24-20 with just seconds remaining. Verron Haynes would soon have his moment that would change his career and go down as one of the greatest plays in Georgia history:

Haynes was later quoted as saying, “By the grace of God I caught the ball. That was the longest five seconds, but the ball finally got there.” Starting tailback Musa Smith soon suffered a season-ending injury and Haynes jumped at the chance to take over at tailback. Against Kentucky, Haynes accounted for 159 total yards and three touchdowns. Over the final four games of the season, Haynes turned in one of the finest half-season in Georgia history. He would average 29 carries and 163 yards rushing while scoring 5 touchdowns. This included a 207 yard performance against Georgia Tech, one of only 8 200+ yard performances in Georgia history.

Haynes finished the 2001 season as Georgia’s leading rusher with 823 yards. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers where he spent part of 6 seasons. He played for the Atlanta Falcons during the 2009 season. While his career in Athens may not have been as decorated as others, for the final half of the 2001, there were few better than #35.


Ben Dukes said...

Verron was an awesome player, and a better guy. We walked-on together, and if there's one thing I remember best, it's his work-ethic. Great pick, guys...though I really have to wonder who makes the "top 100" when Verron is only an honorable mention.

Andy Coleman said...

I nearly busted a ceiling tile in my parents basement on that play! I would've posted a 33 inch vertical at the combine I jumped so high!

Anonymous said...

thx u very much, i learn a lot

Dawgfan17 said...

Haynes was a DGD. Nice start to the countdown. Looking forward to the rest of it.