Hugh Freeze will definitely be replacing its defensive coordinator this offseason. He may also have to replace his top pass rusher.
Junior defensive end Marquis Haynes reportedly told the Ole Miss Spirit after the Egg Bowl that he’s “99 percent sure” he’ll skip his senior season at Ole Miss and declare for the draft. He later softened his stance, saying he isn’t sure whether or not he’ll leave.
He was also noncommittal when speaking with CBS Sports, saying "I guess I just... I don't know right now," when asked about leaving early.
Haynes has been one of the SEC’s top pass rushers over the last three years, racking up 23.5 career sacks. But after getting to the quarterback 10 times as a sophomore, Haynes tallied only six sacks as a junior, prompting some to speculate he’d return to bolster his stock as a senior. CBS currently projects Haynes as a first or second rounder, ranking him the third best outside linebacker prospect in the 2017 draft class (at 6’2, 222, Haynes projects as a pass-rushing 3-4 linebacker at the next level).
With the Rebels set to overhaul their defense next season, it makes sense that Haynes is ready to move on. About an hour before Mississippi State piled up over 500 yards in an Egg Bowl beatdown, defensive coordinator Dave Wommack announced he plans to retire after the season.
Interestingly enough, Wommack apparently didn’t announce that to the team—Haynes said he didn’t know about it until a reporter told him after the game.
"Coach Wommack, I know he's old and stuff, but he's been like an uncle to me,” Haynes told CBS after the Egg Bowl. “I go in his office and talk to him and stuff. To me, that's one of the best college coaches on defense in the world to me. Knowing that he's not going to be here no more... I've just got to find yself someone else's room to go to and go talk to them."