Tulane’s Sincere Haynesworth sticks around to lead in 2023
Sincere Haynesworth has been a rock solid piece of the Tulane offensive line since he landed on campus in 2019.
The former three-star prospect out of Pearland, Texas considered offers from Tulane, Army, Navy, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Arkansas State and McNeese before opting for the Green Wave.
Since his arrival, Haynesworth has logged 3,027 offensive snaps. Most of his reps as a true freshman were at right guard while the remaining snaps came at the center spot. The 6-foot-1, 310 pounder has only surrendered four sacks during his time with the Wave in 48 games. He is a rare three-time team captain, along with Tulane quarterback Michael Pratt.
Haynesworth understands the anonymity of playing in the O-line.
“It’s not for the faint of heart,” he said. “Everyday you have to take pride in what you do. You’ve got to come to terms that your job isn’t easy. Nothing great is easy. There is a lot of pride in what (the line) does. You have to know that, literally, the entire team is on your back and it’s surreal to be able to carry that weight.”
Weight is something that the first-team All-American Athletic Conference player can handle, with a bench press in excess of 400 pounds and a squat north of 600.
Already earning his degree and working towards his Masters in Sports studies, Haynesworth toyed with the idea of testing the NFL waters, but decided that despite the monumental success of 2022, there was more work to be done.” It was a big decision,” he explained on his return.” In order to get my Masters degree and come back and play with these guys one more time. It was a big decision, but it was the right one.”
Head coach Willie Fritz was elated to see No. 52 return for another season.
“We’re really happy he’s back. He has a good football IQ. He’s out there working all the time. We were worried that he may declare for the draft, but he’s decided to return. He’s going to play every snap. He’s a dream to coach. Unbelievable work ethic and toughness,” Fritz explained.
The Wave have a history of producing centers who have advanced to the NFL. Five who were drafted includ Charlie Hansen (Giants, 1958), Dave Painter (Rams, 1959), Larry Rice (Boston 1944), Larry Thompson (Eagles 1962) and Dee Methvin (Browns 1979). Six others earned a chance tomake it as undrafted free agents including seven-year pro James Campen, Lester Gatewood, Christian Montano, Dennis O’Sulivan, Steve Wade and Michael Parenton.
Haynesworth will eventually take his shot at the NFL. He tries to learn from some of the best at his position.
“I like Jason Kelce a lot. I’m a lot shorter than some centers. His body type resembles mine a lot. Our body size and types are similar,” Haynesworth explained. “I think about all the great centers, what they do right, what they do wrong. I’m just trying to learn, to be able to plug in and play where I can. I want the best rep that I can get each time.”
Setting the stage for Tulane’s magical 2022 season, Haynesworth and his teammates drew up a road map a year ago during that spring.
“The captains, we talked about it a lot before the season. We knew that the sky was the limit in order to get where we wanted to go, how we had to work. We set our goals that we wanted to play for the Conference Championship. That was everyday. We’re going to win the conference , was our motto. We wanted a bigger bowl game that we’ve been wanting to get the past four years. This is what we needed to do. We knew that we had something big in store.”
For the upcoming season, the Green Wave goal remains simplified. Tulane has now become the hunted in their conference for the first time. To duplicate last year will be difficult. The mindset to do it stays the same.
“We have to keep the challenge in front of us, to play at least 12 games this season,” Haynesworth declared. “You want to think ahead. You want to think about the future. The real battle is to go 1 and 0 each week. Each rep counts. You’re not saving anything for the next practice. If you’re doing that, you’re dumb. Keep that 1-0 mentality and attention to detail in everything we do. That’s what winning championships takes, attention to detail in every little thing that we do.”
The offensive line returns four starters from the 2022 unit, losing only left tackle Joey Claybrooks. LSU transfer Cam Wire has been inserted as his replacement during spring drills.
“He fits in very well,” Haynesworth noted about Wire. “We are a hard working group. Anything that we do, the basis is hard work. You won’t get anything out of anything unless you put everything into it. He came in ready to work, ready to do what it takes to be a starter on this line. We have a brotherhood and he has taken every step with us so far.”
Having a three-year starter back at quarterback is a major plus. Pratt’s return lifts the program to a higher level.
“It means a lot. He’s one of my best friends. The relationship that we’ve developed is insane. He’s really talented. The sky’s the limit for him. It’s going to be a great year with him behind the offensive line.”
Haynesworth is an instinctive blocker, possessing intriguing quickness and power at the point of attack. His mobility helps him get out in front on screen plays. While he gets to the second level smoothly, he can also hit his target while on the move. He sells the trap block which could turn into a seal inside and plays with good leverage. A key for centers, Haynesworth does well to coordinate combo blocks with his linemates. He finishes each block with a little nasty in his game.
“I want to improve everywhere. No matter what I accomplished last year, it’s just not good enough now. There is always room to improve. I want to improve my stamina, move my feet quicker, work on my technique overall. I want to be overall better if I want to play at the next level. Every single rep. I have to improve in all facets.”
The Tulane fanbase basked in the success that the Green Wave enjoyed last season. Sincere Haynesworth and his teammates want to repay the gratitude bestowed upon them with more to cheer about.
“The whole team, the whole organization is so appreciative, welcoming us and getting us so much support from the city. Something we hadn’t seen before. As a team, we always talked about the crowd not being as big as we’d like and not getting as much attention. We have to be a winning team in order to maintain that. Put in the work to reap what we sow. We’re happy that the city has backed us.”
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to play football at LSU, developing a passion for the game in even greater fashion while in…