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‘Coach Franklin was Jumping up and down’: Yazeed Haynes Talks Penn State Commitment

Yazeed Haynes has been rooting for Penn State since he started watching college football. 

But becoming a Nittany Lion wasn’t always the plan. 

By the end of his junior year, Haynes, a four-star recruit from North Penn High School in Landsdale, Pennsylvania, had become one of Pennsylvania’s top high school players, and he committed to Rutgers, another Big Ten school, March 24. 

So it looked like Haynes would be playing against coach James Franklin and not for him during his college football career. 

Sometimes, however, plans change. 

Haynes, who previously played at Neumann-Goretti in Philadelphia in 2021 and at Germantown High School, also in Philly, in 2019-20, de-committed from Rutgers May 23. 

Twelve days later, he went to Penn State for the school’s Whiteout camp and picked up an offer. 

He set an official visit for the following weekend.

On that visit, he ran a sub-4.40 in the 40-yard dash, but most importantly, he picked a new home, committing to Penn State Sunday. 

What did Haynes like about Penn State? Pretty much everything. 

“Just being there, seeing how family-oriented they were,” Haynes told Nittany Sports Now, “the culture, the players, how close they were with the coaches and with each other, seeing the school, the campus, the academics they offer, everything.

They tell me about how the alumni are very strong there. So all of that, just being there, and Penn State was always a school I kind of wanted to go to, I just decided that I was going to commit, and that was the place for me.”

Haynes was pleased to tell Franklin and Penn State’s coaching staff the good news in person at a meeting room in the Hyatt Hotel in State College.

Believe it or not, they were excited. 

“Coach Franklin was jumping up and down,” Haynes said, “he got everybody to come in there. They were all congratulating me. It was all smiles on everybody’s faces. It was just great.”

So who, assuming he signs, will Penn State be getting in Yazeed Haynes?

“They’re going to get a very dynamic player who’s always going to make plays,” Haynes (6-foot-2, 175 pounds) said. “Whether it’s me playing wide receiver or (defensive back). Just a player who is always going to bring a love for the game and somebody who is going to help the team get to where they need to be.”

Haynes is fast, as evidenced by his 40-time on his official visit, and he describes himself as a leader and a playmaker on the field, capable of doing big things at wide receiver and defensive back.

Haynes is listed as a receiver, has a close relationship with Penn State receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield and is impressed with Penn State’s success in getting receivers to the NFL over the past decade. 

Allen Robinson and Chris Godwin have each had successful pro careers, and Jahan Dotson went 16th overall to the Washington Commanders in April’s draft. Haynes is excited at the possibility of falling in line with that group.

“That was one of the things that brought me close to the school,” Haynes said. “Seeing how they put receivers in the league and knowing that maybe I could be the next one.”

One of Penn State’s goals is to keep Pennsylvania’s best high school talent in the state.

Now, the school has the state’s fourth-ranked player from the Class of 2023 (per Rivals.com) committed, and Haynes has a chance to live his dream not too far from home. 

“Growing up in PA my whole entire life, and now, I get to go play Division I football at a big college that’s still in PA,” Haynes said. “Being from PA and playing in PA, it’s going to bring a lot of people’s attention, and they’re going to like that. So it just means a lot to me.”

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