As a fifth-year senior and captain, Phil Haynes is an essential part of Wake Forest’s offensive line, but he is also a notable presence on campus — not just because of his size.
Hailing from Raleigh, NC, Haynes has been instrumental in helping transform the Wake Forest offensive line into the 17th-ranked offensive line in the country last season. Haynes started his redshirt freshman season as right tackle, but quickly found his place at left guard in 2016 and started every game. Last season, he was named to the All-ACC Third Team and played 108 snaps in the Belk Bowl last December against Texas A&M.
Lizzie Snyder: The offensive line is complete with four redshirt seniors and a redshirt junior this season. Last season, you were ranked 17th in the country. Can you speak to what it took to develop the team chemistry and power to improve so drastically over your time here?
Phil Haynes: It honestly took work day in and day out. We all weren’t ranked very high coming out of high school. So we had to work together not only to make ourselves better but each other better. It was and has been a daily decision.
LS: What are your main takeaways from the game against BC last weekend?
PH: The main takeaway that I can really speak of is the improvement of Sam Hartman. He has been really impressive as a freshman. Also I would give a lot of credit to our front seven. I was very pleased with their effort versus a good group.
LS: What are your thoughts on the game against ND this weekend?
PH: As always, our goal is to go 1-0 every week and I think this weekend we have a great opportunity for that.
LS: Do you think you would have benefitted from the new redshirt rule?
PH: Personally, I don’t think I would have. I was not ready to play my first fall and I needed that full fall to watch and get better.
LS: What is the team and especially the offensive line doing to prepare for ACC play in the coming weeks to ultimately secure enough wins to make a third bowl appearance in a row?
PH: We go out to practice and make sure we put in the work in order to get there. We also watch all the extra film that is required to win a game each week. You really can’t look past any game in our league so we take it week by week.
LS: So you’re in the 1,500 club for weight lifting between power clean, squat max and one rep max on bench press, but you’re not only in it, you ARE it. Do you have another strength goal you’re trying to accomplish?
PH: Anyone can always get stronger! I do not have any more strength goals to
accomplish at Wake Forest since I won’t ever max out here ever again. I will always work to stay as strong as I can.
LS: Where do you see the future of professional football going with all of the concussion research being released?
PH: I think players will have to make a choice to play or not. I think they will be given all the information and people will chose to play. I don’t think the love of the game will leave people. There are risks for everything we do in life. People will risk everything to do something they love.
LS: Outside of the team, do you have any people who have influenced your experience here?
PH: A ton of people. Honestly Wake Forest does a great job of integrating athletes into the student body. Some of my best friends were pre-med or sorority girls and frat guys. Wake Forest is a very close, tight-knit family.
LS: What’s your favorite Wake Forest Football memory?
PH: My favorite football memory is torn between two. The win last year against NC State and the win two years ago at Duke. Both those games proved a lot not only to me but the O Line. With Duke we learned that we actually could be a strength of the team. The NC State win was revenge on a group of guys who got us our red shirts freshman year.
LS: What will you miss about Wake Forest?
PH: I will miss all the relationships I’ve made over the past going on five years. I’ve met some great guys who were teammates but also great people who were a part of the student body. I can’t forget about the coaches as well. They started off everything with me and have guided me throughout the entire process.
LS: As a fifth-year senior and captain, what would you tell your freshman self?
PH: Everything is going to be okay. Keep working hard and things will turn out okay.
LS: What are your plans after the season if you don’t end up joining the league?
PH: I haven’t really thought of what is next. I am trying to soak up all the time I have left.
LS: What is the greatest lesson football has taught you?
PH: Hard work can take you anywhere in life.