365 Sports Network currently features dozens and dozens of interviews with a mixture of athletes and we will continue to publish more and more interviews as time goes on. If you are interested in being interviewed and if you are an athlete either in the college or professional ranks please email me at JustinKish@365SportsNetwork.com and we will communicate for a possible interview.
Justin David Kish: Thank you so much Dylan for your time. Please tell us a little bit about yourself for the fans who are not familiar with you?
Dylan Haines: I grew up in Austin, TX. Both my parents graduated from UT. My father played football and my mother ran track. I had zero scholarship offers out of high school so I decided to follow my parents footsteps to UT and walk on.
Justin David Kish: During your college career you played for the Texas Longhorns. Tell us about your time playing for the Longhorns?
Dylan Haines: It was the experience of a lifetime. I was able to go from walk-on to a scholarship 3 year starter. I was able to get to tied for 5th in all time career interceptions and 2nd in interception return yards. It was truly a dream come true. I learned a lot from the people I played with as well as the many coaches that came though the program.
Justin David Kish: During your time with the Longhorns you were coached by defensive coordinator Todd Orlando and safeties coach Craig Naivar. How has the coaching staff at Texas improved you as player during your time with the team?
Dylan Haines: I was not. I was coached by DC Vance Bedford and DB coaches Clay Jennings and Chris Vaughn. Coach Bedford was one of the first coaches to actually give me an opportunity to prove that I could play. As I continued to make plays as a sophomore, Coach Bedford moved me up the depth chart and eventually let me take reps with the 1’s. I owe all of my success to him. Coach Vaughn was my DB coach for my sophomore and junior year. He taught me everything I know about playing DB. I learned how to prepare and how to read offenses from him. Coach Jennings was my DB coach my senior year and he helped me become more of a leader for the other players on the team.
Justin David Kish: Playing in the Big 12 Conference you faced teams like Oklahoma, Baylor and Oklahoma State on a year-to-year basis. When you look back at your career what is one game that really took you to your limits and brought out the best in you?
Dylan Haines: Probably the Oklahoma game. Every year that game felt like a championship game. It almost felt like a bowl game. I always tried my best to prepare as hard as I could because there was no team I wanted to beat more than OU. My senior year I had 2 interceptions in the first quarter. We ended up losing that game by one score but it was a great experience.
Justin David Kish: Being an defensive back you were tasked with covering some of the best wide receivers in the nation. What was one wide out that was a real challenge?
Dylan Haines: Although I played and covered a couple first round picks, and some guys that were studs in college, the WR that stood out to me the most was Tyler Lockett from Kansas State. He wasn’t the biggest or fastest receiver but he could play. He ran some of the best routes I had seen and could make plays in space. It didn’t surprise me when he started doing well in Seattle.
Justin David Kish: During your tenure with the Longhorns you created many memories with your brothers on the field. What is one memory that sticks out from the rest?
Dylan Haines: Although there were many great team wins, the moment that sticks out to me the most was making my first interception, on my third collegiate snap. I was just awarded a scholarship about a week before that and after I made the play, every single one of the 10 other guys on defense ran up to me and picked me up in celebration.
Justin David Kish: What does it mean to be a Texas Longhorn?
Dylan Haines: It means representing something much bigger than yourself. It means representing a university of tradition and pride. It is an honor to get to wear those colors and a logo that are recognizable all over the world.
Justin David Kish: You are now shifting your focus on the 2017 NFL Draft. How are you currently preparing yourself for the draft and who are you working with in preparation?
Dylan Haines: I am training at the HIT Center here in Austin. It’s not one of the bigger name pre-draft training facilities but I love it because I get to work one-on-one with trainers to really work to specific parts of my game that I think I can improve.
Justin David Kish: You have picked off a number of quarterbacks in your career ranging from Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield and Skyler Howard. To you what is one interception that is the most memorable in your career?
Dylan Haines: It would have to be my 2nd interception of the OU game this past year. I already had one the previous drive and I was able to get a great read as to where the ball was going, pick it off, and run it back to around the 15 yard line. It was the loudest I had ever heard the crowd at that game.
Justin David Kish: What is one aspect of your game do you consider to be your biggest strength?
Dylan Haines: My instinct. I’ve always been able to read QB’s really well and pick up on where the ball is going before they take their hand off the ball. This allows me to get a great jump on the ball and make a lot of interceptions. I would also say I have really good hands in terms of catching the ball.
Justin David Kish: What is one part of your game you would like to improve on?
Dylan Haines: Playing man to man coverage from a catch technique. This was something I did a good amount of my first year but was moved to more of a free safety position my last two years. I haven’t gotten to work on it as much as I would have liked to and I know it is a crucial part of playing in the NFL.
Justin David Kish: Name a point during your college career when you had to overcome adversity. What did you learn from that experience?
Dylan Haines: The biggest adversity I overcame was having to transition from a walk-on to a starter. Although it sounds glamorous, I quickly learned that the spotlight was not always beneficial even though as a walk-on I would’ve died for the chance to start. I learned that every mistake you make on the field is criticized by the many fans of the university. I thought because I had a sort of Rudy-esque story behind my rise, fans would love me no matter what. This was not the case. I learned throughout the years that most people just want to see you fail. People will always bash you on Twitter and in the media because that’s what gets likes and views now a days. It’s truly sad because these 30 and 40 year old’s are bashing on an 18-20 year old just for making a mistake on the field. I had to learn to ignore all of that and just focus on playing football.
Justin David Kish: What does a typical day look like when you have time off?
Dylan Haines: Well aside from football, I love to play golf. I go out to Lago Vista, TX (where I am from) and play every chance I get. I also enjoy playing the piano so I do a little of that in my free time. Other than that I am a pretty laid back guy. I love going out with friends but also don’t mind staying in and just relaxing.
Justin David Kish: What have you learned from your past mistakes?
Dylan Haines: I’ve learned to ignore critics. I’ve learned that football is a game that can take a lot from you. What is important is that you take more from the game of football.
Justin David Kish: In the next couple of questions I am going to put you on the spot. My first question. If you could compare yourself to any current professional football player who would you compare yourself to and why?
Dylan Haines: To be honest I couldn’t even tell you. During my career at UT I was often so busy I didn’t have time watch many NFL games. I don’t know if there is anyone in the NFL that I could accurately compare myself to. I know this all sounds politically correct but its true.
Justin David Kish: My final question. If I was an NFL General Manager why should I draft Dylan Haines?
Dylan Haines: No matter what I will always play smart, tough, and dependable. I am a versatile player that can play free or strong safety. I will have no issue learning the playbook and understanding coverage concepts. I have proven I can get to the ball in the air and make plays on it. I can tackle well and will play on every special teams. I’m one of the hardest workers you will ever meet and do whatever I can to help the team.