Photo courtesy of Old Dominion athletics

After missing a season due to COVID-19, Old Dominion junior defensive end Marcus Haynes is ready to capitalize on his breakout season in 2019.

While 2019 was a down season for ODU, it was the best of Haynes’ two years in Norfolk. Then a redshirt sophomore, Hayes posted 3.5 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss. Now, as ODU works its first spring practices under head coach Ricky Rahne, Haynes is ready for more. 

“(Spring ball) has been going pretty good,” Haynes said. “I’m liking how we are coming together and like how the defense is competing every day, and how the offense is competing against us every day. I just feel like we are taking the right steps we need to take.”

Haynes will provide some experience and leadership along the defensive line. He is the most experienced member on a young front that has only combined for 6.5 sacks.

Haynes’ name may also ring bells to fans outside of Old Dominion. Haynes played a key role in the Monarchs’ massive upset of top-15 Virginia Tech in 2018.


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The Bowie, Mary. native introduced himself to fans in a big way that day, sacking Virginia Tech quarterbacks twice and generating two tackles for loss in the upset.

“Just being a young guy and you had a school that used to recruit you, I have to go out there and show them why I’m better here than somewhere else,” Haynes remarked. “That’s the real feeling you get with the crowd roaring like, ‘this is college football’. It’s giving me chills just thinking back on it.”

Now the anchor of ODU’s defensive line, Haynes has to figure out how to turn that breakout 2019 into an even bigger 2021. He will be a vital piece for Old Dominion to achieve its goals.

“It’s the little things that help,” Haynes said. “Going back to your film and looking at how you rushed and looking at little details and things you can do to make your get off better. Going out with your teammates to do extra drills. Getting in extra time with your coach, and seeing what he can recommend for you to do better. I feel like the little things all build and make a big difference.”

That brick-by-brick mentality is a common theme at ODU. “You just have to know you have to build it brick by brick just like anything else,” offensive lineman Nick Saldiveri told Fifth Quarter last week.