North's Haynes flourishing in first year as starting QB

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan — North Gwinnett quarterback Michael Haynes has become one of Gwinnett County's top passers in his only year as a starter.

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan — North Gwinnett quarterback Michael Haynes has become one of Gwinnett County's top passers in his only year as a starter.


Who: Michael Haynes

School: North Gwinnett

Sport: Football

Class: Senior

Dream job: Professional athlete

Favorite sports team: Atlanta Falcons

Favorite TV show: Tosh.O


-- Has thrown for 1,760 yards and 21 TDs this season and rushed for 618 yards and three TDs

-- Maintains 3.7 GPA

-- Plays pitcher and first base on North baseball team

-- Father Mickey was an all-state quarterback on Brookwood's 1988 state runner-up team

Michael Haynes knew this was his only shot.

When the North Gwinnett baseball team was knocked out of the playoffs this spring, Haynes didn't take any time off to relax. He went straight to spring football practice.

Haynes spent the previous two years as North's backup QB. With his chance to become the starting quarterback, he wasted little time getting back on the field.

"This last spring and summer he put all his eggs in football," North Gwinnett head coach Bob Sphire said.

Haynes bulked up by putting on about 15 pounds during the offseason. He also became more of a leader on the field.

"I just knew what we saw that first day of spring is what we could have this fall," Sphire said.

Sphire was right.

Haynes has led a game-winning drive, put together impressive passing numbers and has North back in the playoffs for the seventh straight year. He'll celebrate his 18th birthday today by making his first career playoff start.

"I think we've done a pretty good job so far," Haynes said.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound senior has thrown for 1,760 yards and 21 touchdowns. He has a completion percentage of 65.9 and has thrown just five interceptions.

"I've been spreading it around to our athletes, giving our guys a chance to make a play," Haynes said. "Overall, just keeping the offense together and doing what we need to do to get the win every week."

Haynes made his first career start in the Georgia Dome when North upset state-ranked Colquitt County. Haynes led North to the game-winning field goal.

"No question about it. He played really big down the stretch and was very clutch," Sphire said.

Haynes has developed a knack for shining in big games. He threw for 236 yards and two TDs against No. 3 ranked Norcross. His 253-yard passing, three touchdown and 116-yard rushing performance against Mill Creek was one of the best games a QB has played under Sphire.

"In all the critical situations, he just seemed to really be on point, making the right decision to the right matchup and making the right throw," Sphire said.

Haynes is continuing a tradition of standout quarterbacks at North Gwinnett. Mikey Tamburo led North to the state title game in 2007, C.J. Uzomah and Scotty Hosch guided North to region titles. All three signed with Division I football programs.

"You look at the past quarterbacks we've had with Mikey, C.J. and Scotty, they are guys that went D-I football," Haynes said. "It sets the bar high. What they've been able to do with the team, it pushes you to be the best you can be and try to live up the expectations they have."

If that wasn't enough pressure, Haynes is also the son of former Brookwood QB Mickey Haynes. The older Haynes was an all-state player on Brookwood's 1988 state runner-up team.

"He does a pretty job being motivational and giving good advice," Haynes said of his father. "He's been through it all before. Having someone like that to rely on, who's been in my shoes is kind of nice."

Haynes grew up in Cobb County playing in the Harrison district and running the Hoyas' wing-T offense. His family moved to Suwanee in 2008 and he's slowly developed into a top-notch quarterback.

He split time as a baseball and football player, but devoted the entire offseason to football this year.

"He set his summer schedule up so nothing would conflict with football and he's developed and developed," Sphire said. "He knew as soon as they got beat in the state playoffs of baseball, once that happened and he got to spring practice he knew this was his opportunity and chance for this to be his team."

Now North is back in the playoffs and will rely on Haynes for a deep playoff run. The Bulldogs have been knocked out in the second round the last two years.

"He's going to have a lot on him," Sphire said. "Michael is going to have to make a lot of plays for us to win."


Dawgapedia 2 years, 10 months ago

Good article, Brandon, thanks for writing it. We are so proud of this young man, not just for his accomplishments on the field, but for the leadership, heart, and character he shows on and off the field. I understand he is an excellent student and may be heading to the Ivy League.

I hope other big time football schools find out about him, too. I believe he leads the county in total yards and total scores, and ironically, he has only played 4 quarters in a few games this year. You can only imagine what Haynes' stats would be if he was in all the time. Our backup QBs have about 600 yards passing and several more TDs. It is a pity how recruiting works these days that this young man, who stayed loyal to his school and waited to play until his senior year, could fall through the cracks. He is a whole lot better than some of those big names we keep hearing about around the state who are committed to big football schools.

The toughness he showed in the Johns Creek game, making key runs and throwing 4 TDs while hobbling around with an injured leg is the stuff of legend. Michael Haynes and his team are destined for the Dome!


Brandon Brigman 2 years, 10 months ago

Thanks Dawg. Unfortunately, the way recruiting is now it's tough for a kid to have a great senior year, especially at QB, and get a major D-I offer. Most of the big schools have their QBs committed before the season starts. I could see him doing well at an Ivy League school or a Division I-FCS school. His situation kind of reminds of Heinicke and he's doing pretty well at ODU.


NGHS09 2 years, 10 months ago

@ Dawgapedia...It is a crying shame and a perfect example of how ridiculous recruiting is nowadays. They go after these kids in middle school now! Do you remember Tyler Jarry from 06-08? I played with him and he was one of the best high school athletes in the entire state for 3 years, but NO ONE recruited him!!!! He walked on @ GT but hung up the cleats shortly after. Talk about ruining a young man's future. Tyler was brilliant in school and always out of trouble...torched defenses from Gwinnett to Tift County....set the county record for receptions in a season and accumulated over 4500 yards of total offense over 3 seasons in the highest classification....yet NO ONE wanted him. Weird!


Dawgapedia 2 years, 10 months ago

I also heard his dad was thinking about holding him back from college a year to go in with class of '14 (greyshirt?). Perhaps a better chance in that class. Have you ever heard of anyone else do that?


Brandon Brigman 2 years, 10 months ago

You hear of a grey shirt every once a while. I think Norcross' Fred Munzenmaier was a grey shirt with UGA. I think there was a kid from Buford that took a grey shirt as well. I think it's usually the college coaches choice to do a grey shirt and not the parents. Personally, I think grey shirts are too risky. Basically, a college is promising you a scholarship for next year. I wouldn't trust a college program when it come that.


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