Kentucky football: Nick Haynes not giving up on football despite frustrating senior season
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Offensive guard Nick Haynes will be honored in senior day celebrations on Saturday, but the end of Haynes’ Kentucky career hasn’t gone according to plan.
Haynes was a steady presence on Kentucky’s offensive line last season, but the Niceville, Fla., native hasn’t played in the Wildcats’ last few games. A struggle with Type 1 diabetes has kept Haynes from keeping weight on. Listed on the roster at 300 pounds, Haynes has been hovering in the 260-pound range. It’s a weight he doesn’t feel comfortable playing at.
“It’s been terrible,” Haynes said Tuesday of not playing. “Especially, I think coming off last year I was in a really good space when it comes to football, just how I played and stuff like that. I think I was playing really well, but my weight didn’t wanna act right so I ended up here.”
That brings us to our Kentucky Question of the Day. David Beyer asks: “Will we see Nick Haynes at tight end?”
Haynes wore No. 89 at Georgia last weekend, so it seemed like a legitimate possibility. But Kentucky coach Mark Stoops nixed the idea on Monday.
“We tried it just a little bit for field goal and a few certain things, but we’ll move him back inside,” Stoops said ahead of the Louisville game.
But Haynes is eager for any chance of playing time. He said his number transition has been in the works for three weeks.
“I was wearing No. 8 at practice, but I do whatever they ask me to do,” Haynes said. “I was on special teams, it doesn’t matter. If they ask me to go play tight end, I can do that. If they ask me to go play tackle, I don’t care. It doesn’t matter.”
Haynes hasn’t been able to contribute as an offensive lineman for much of the season, but offensive coordinator Eddie Gran said Haynes is like a coach at practice. The five-year veteran knows all the nuances of playing on the offensive line. He’s been a mentor to young players such as redshirt freshman center Drake Jackson.
Coach is one role, and captain is another.
“I think he just deserves that,” Stoops said. “I think that’s who he is. He’s done a lot for this program. He’s sacrificed a lot, and he’s not at 100 percent health, but he’s still a very good leader and a captain.”
Haynes’ Kentucky career will end next month, but he’s not ready to be finished with football. He plans to train with the hope of putting weight back on. He wants to find a more detailed nutritionist and a nutrition plan that’s specific to him. The frustrating part for Haynes is that no one can figure out why this has been the year when he hasn’t been able to keep weight on.
When it’s all figured out, he wants to play center in the NFL.
“It’s not something that’s out of my reach, and it’s something I wanna do,” Haynes said. “So, I’m gonna work my hardest to do that.”