Anyone who knows Dylan Haines would describe him as a very laid back young man. He has a small circle of close friends, and prefers to spend time with them , rather than a larger social gathering. Even though he is considerably easy-going, there are two areas in life that ignite a fire in him.
The first is politics. He is not shy about engaging in political debates, discussing world issues, and reading about current events. He loves to argue, so beware before going up against him in a debate. He knows what he is doing, and his vast knowledge could leave you speechless, with no defense. The second area that brings out deep passion is a game he started playing at ten years old.
Dylan spent his adolescence surrounded by adults involved in football. His father played in college and the NFL, and his best friend’s dad coached at the University of Southern California. Over time, with the influence of their parents, both Dylan and his friend naturally fell in love with football.
His recruitment was different than most of the players he now takes the field with, because he was not recruited. He sent his tape to many smaller schools in Texas, but they all turned him down. They would later come to regret this decision.
Even though coaches and recruiting staff failed to recognize his talent, Dylan knew he wanted to play football at the collegiate level. When it came to deciding where he would walk on, one school stood out among the rest. The University of Texas at Austin, which boasts one of the most storied and prideful football programs in the country, is where he decided to continue his athletic career.
When Dylan walked through the football facilities and saw four national championships along with countless All Americans, he knew Texas was the perfect place to chase his dreams, both on and off the field. Their stellar academics make being a Longhorn graduate very meaningful.
His family knew this too, as both of his parents and older brother attended the University. With his decision, Dylan continued the legacy and kept the Longhorns in the family.
Looking back on the many reasons he chose Texas, Dylan says, “It felt foolish to go anywhere else.”
For two long years at Texas, Dylan battled everyday taking practice reps with the scout team, desperate to showcase his abilities. Even though he gave everything he had on each drill, he never earned the coveted spot he wanted.
After not making it off the scout team for a prolonged amount of time, thoughts of transferring to a smaller school in Texas started entering his mind. Dylan truly felt he had given everything he had to show his abilities. As his eligibility started to tick down, he knew it came down to what was best for his future.
Before he could begin to pursue a transfer, the change he had been waiting for finally happened - Coach Charlie Strong was leaving Louisville behind, and headed straight for Austin, Texas.
Coach Strong entered the program with a fresh, clean slate. Every player had an equal opportunity to earn a starting job.
During practice, Coach Strong noticed Dylan’s impressive performances. Finally, the opportunity he worked towards finally arrived. Slowly, Dylan began to make his way up the depth chart.
For the first few games of the 2014 season, he split time with other players, but before long, he was named a starter. He remained first on the depth chart for the remainder of his time at Texas.
Dylan finally achieved his goal of becoming a starter, making the years of sacrifice worthwhile. Most people do not understand how much college athletes sacrifice to get where they are. Every athlete who steps on the field has given up countless important parts of life in order to play the game they love.
“Most people think we are given everything and only see what happens on Saturdays, but not the other six days of the week,” says Dylan.
Throughout his life, he has constantly been forced to put football first. This means sacrificing schoolwork, friends, social life, sleep, relationships, time with family during holidays, travelling, certain degree choices, physical health, and extracurricular activities.
When Dylan earned a starting spot, he was forced to learn how to handle extreme pressure. Being a starting player for an elite college program is great when you are catching passes and sacking quarterbacks, but if you make a mistake, fans criticize your abilities. Learning how to handle criticism is a process, but as long as you stay confident in your game and ignore the outside noise, Dylan assures everything will be okay.
Looking back on his time at Texas, it is hard for Dylan to express everything he has learned. Playing college football along with earning a degree has taught him how to manage time, how to be a good team player, and how to handle criticism and adversity. He continues to always believe in himself and his abilities. Everyday, he wakes up with an “attack the day” mentality. Dylan will always cherish his time at Memorial Stadium and the countless life lessons he learned during his time as a Longhorn.
“I learned the game of football can take a lot out of a young man, but what is more important is what a young man can take out of the game,” says Dylan.
After five years at Texas, Dylan walked off the Longhorns football field for the last time with 161 total tackles, 13 interceptions, 10 pass breakups, and two fumble recoveries.
With a college degree added to his list of accomplishments, Dylan plans to work in athletic recruiting or start his own service in the industry. He knows what it feels like to be under recruited, and wants to find a way to promote equal opportunity for every young player. For now, though, he is focused on taking his game to the next level.
Over the years, Dylan has worked hard and sacrificed an incredible amount to accomplish his dreams. Nothing in life was handed to him. He was not a five star recruit with every major university begging him to play for them. Instead, he had to work every day to earn a starting spot. While some players might not prefer the route Dylan took to success, it taught him the value of hard work.
Dylan had to work every day and fight for a spot to play in college, and he is more than ready to compete for a spot on an NFL roster.
Watch out for Dylan Haines. When he knows what he wants, nothing will stand in the way of him accomplishing it. And right now, he wants the NFL.
Dylan’s Advice: Just don’t ever give up on your dreams just because someone tells you you can’t do it. I can’t tell you how many times in my life someone told me I would never play college football. I was in a room of some of my best friends just 3 years ago when I said I could play in the NFL and every single one of them laughed. There are so many more people in life that would rather see you fail than see you succeed. I would also share one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite movies, The Pursuit of Happiness.
"Don't ever let somebody tell you you can't do something. Not even me. All right? You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can't do somethin' themselves, they wanna tell you you can't do it. If you want somethin', go get it. Period."