Welcome To The Family, Dwayne
Dwayne Haskins talks about joining Jordan Brand and his east coast-influenced sneaker swag.
Quarterbacks are constantly avoiding pass-rushing defenders at all costs, but in 2018, QB Dwayne Haskins was the one blitzing the entire college football landscape. In his first full season as the starter, Dwayne put up numbers that the conference had literally never seen before. His 50 passing touchdowns (to only eight interceptions), 4,831 passing yards and 373 pass completions in a single season bested all-time greats, and on top of all that, he’s only the sixth player in college football history to throw at least 50 TDs.
These records likely won’t be touched for years, if not decades. Before Dwayne, no conference QB had ever reached or surpassed the 40 TD or 4,000 yard marks. And this is just the beginning for the 22-year-old, who played high school ball in Maryland less than 50 miles from his new home in the pros.
Although his rise was quick, the New Jersey native set himself up for success. At 11 years old, Dwayne was captured on video, touring college facilities; even then, he said he wanted to play QB in Columbus, Ohio. In eighth grade, his science fair project examined the aerodynamics of throwing a football at a high velocity. During youth football, he developed an uncle-slash-mentor relationship with a veteran pro wide receiver.
As he begins his first season in the pros, he’ll have the full support of a new family, Jordan Brand. Get to know Dwayne and learn about his sneaker style in the interview below.
When did you get your first pair of Air Jordans?
The first pair I bought myself was the Air Jordan XII “Taxi” during my sophomore year in high school. They were sold out at the store, so my friend’s mom had to get me a pair from one of her friends. I got all the crazy ones now — the “Bel Air” Vs, the Travis Scotts, the OVO VIIIs, the Off-White Is, the Carolina Is, the Chicago Is and even friends and family pairs. I’ve never owned a pair of VIIs, but that’s probably next.
How did growing up in both the Tri-State area and the DMV influence your sneaker style?
New York, D.C. and even Philly really have their own sneaker culture. You gotta be with the style. If not, you’ll get called out for it. Growing up, MJ’s sneakers were a fashion statement. I wore them in elementary school, just to kick around in. If you didn’t have a pair of Jordans, you weren’t considered cool. That was just the standard.
What was it like playing in the Air Jordan XIII cleats?
They were great. All my friends are asking for a pair. I practice in Air Jordan cleats, the XIs and a few other pairs. They just make me feel like Mike. I feel like I’m somebody else on the field, like I’m different, so that’s pretty cool to me.
What Air Jordan shoe would you want turned into cleats?
I like IVs, some green Is or the Off-White Is. Those would be sweet.
Do you have a favorite MJ moment?
I wasn’t born when MJ was really killing it, but YouTube is very handy. MJ had the flu game, and I always talk about that when I get sick before a football game. I might have a night game, a flu game, and that moment inspires me, because it was one of his biggest moments in his career.
What does it mean to you to be the only player in the NFL’s 2019 rookie class to represent Jordan Brand?
The only one? It’s cool. It’s an extreme opportunity and a blessing to be a part of something so historic. I’m really thankful to be part of a brand that I take pride in. The athletes signed to Jordan are an exclusive group, and they’re all really good at what they do. To be considered with them is amazing to me. MJ always kept a high standard, and the people involved with the brand today, including myself, want to keep that standard high.
MJ always played with a chip on his shoulder. How does that mindset fuel you?
Even though MJ was the best, he was never complacent. He always worked harder than the next guy. It’s very inspiring, as an athlete, to study him, what he stood for, how he prepared, how he practiced, how he led others and how he competed. To now be able to work with him and be a part of his brand is very, very motivating for me.