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IU adds former Ole Miss DB Haynes as grad transfer

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Safety will fortify secondary depth this season while serving on special teams

California v Mississippi
Jon Haynes of the Mississippi Rebels in action during a game against the California Golden Bears at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on September 21, 2019 in Oxford, Mississippi.
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Jon Haynes had a busy afternoon against Indiana in January’s Outback Bowl. Now, the Hoosiers are preparing to give the former Mississippi safety some work inside their own defensive backfield this fall.

IU announced Thursday that Haynes has joined the program as a graduate transfer after entering the NCAA Transfer Portal earlier this month. Although it’s not clear which of IU’s three safety spots Haynes might fit best in, he’ll add veteran depth to the back end of the defense while also providing help on special teams.

A former JUCO player, Haynes started 17 of the 21 games he played with the Rebels, posting 31 tackles, 18 solo stops, a half tackle for loss, one pick, two breakups and two hurries in 10 games last season. Against the Hoosiers on Jan. 2, Haynes recorded four tackles and a pass deflection in Ole Miss’ 26-20 victory.

“He’s been a good player for them, played a lot of football in the SEC,” IU coach Tom Allen said. “We’re really excited to have him join our football team.”

Because he has already graduated, Haynes will be immediately eligible to play for the Hoosiers this fall despite his late addition to the program. At IU, he’ll reunite with former teammate Ryder Anderson, a fellow grad transfer who latched onto Indiana’s defensive line this past winter. IU safeties coach Jason Jones was a part of the Ole Miss staff that recruited Haynes to the Rebels’ program a couple of years ago.

“We reached out to him because we have guys that have coached him on this staff, guys that know him very well, (and) one of his former teammates,” Allen said. “So we’ve added a young man that our staff already knows through previous relationships with him when Coach Jones was on that staff coaching years ago. Bottom line, he made that decision (to transfer) and once he put himself in the portal, we had an additional spot available and chose to use it on him.”