This article is part of a two-part series. You can read the next part two here.
At the end of Fridays’ training camp practice, Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins is taking time to give back to the fans. He’s signing autographs and taking pictures with those who have braved the Richmond heat to watch the Burgundy and Gold practice.
Although he’s yet to take an NFL snap, Haskins’ name carries a lot of weight in the Redskins’ organization. The franchise invested a first-round pick in the Ohio State product, putting faith in the 22-year-old to be their franchise quarterback for years to come.
Haskins is currently in the middle of his first NFL training camp, a position his longtime mentor and friend Shawn Springs was in 22 years ago. Springs, who has known Haskins since he was in middle school, was a top prospect in his own right; the Seattle Seahawks selected him No. 3 overall in the 1997 NFL Draft. He enjoyed a successful 13-year NFL career, playing the bulk of it in a Burgundy and Gold uniform.
After Haskins concluded signing autographs, he caught up with his long-time friend and mentor.
“It's crazy because I was a little kid, looking up to people like you, and now I’m in the same position,” Haskins told Springs. “I’m going to try and be as humble as possible, give back to the community, and try and show love to the fans.”
Haskins met Springs during a football camp in middle school, where Springs’ son was also an attendee. Impressed by Haskins’ arm strength, Springs introduced himself to the young quarterback. Haskins already knew of Springs due to playing with the Redskins in the video game Madden NFL, and the two formed a bond. Haskins and Springs’ bond was documented during NBC Sports Washington’s ‘I Am The Prospect’ series.
A New Jersey resident at the time, Haskins was contemplating different avenues he could take for his high school football career. It was Springs who invited him to come to watch a high school football game in the Washington, D.C. area, trying to convince the Haskins family that the quality of football was superior.
The family ended up moving to Maryland, where Haskins would star at the Bullis School in Potomac, Md., and turn into a high profile recruit. After decommitting from Maryland, Haskins signed with Springs’ alma matter, the Ohio State Buckeyes, and the rest is history.
Haskins has always had large goals for himself. At Ohio State, he broke numerous passing records in his lone season as the starter, including Drew Brees’ Big Ten passing touchdowns record, which he shattered by 11 (Haskins' 50 to Brees' 39).
“It's crazy because I was a little kid, looking up to people like you, and now I’m in the same position."
The Redskins see a lot of potential in Haskins. There’s a reason they drafted him so high. But Haskins’ has even larger goals for himself than just being the Redskins' franchise QB.
“Hall of Fame,” Haskins told Springs on his overall goal as an NFL player. “Win a couple of Super Bowls and I’m going to get in the Hall of Fame. One percent better, whatever it is, every day and try and figure it out.”
Recently after April’s draft, the newest Redskins quarterback signed a major endorsement deal with the Jordan Brand.
When selecting which endorsement brand he wanted to sign with, Haskins turned to his roots and who he supported as a child.
“I was a big Michael Jordan fan growing up," he said. "My dad’s a big Jordan fan; he had all the J’s. So I wanted to sign with Jordan, man. I got a bunch of [cleats], white, red, burgundy, yellow. I got my whole locker full of cleats.”
Haskins and Springs have their own grading system, a way of staying on track and accomplishing their goals. Springs asked Haskins where he was right now, at the beginning of his first NFL training camp.
“From what I know now, to where I want to be, I’d give myself a solid 77 right now,” Haskins said. “Because 100 is a Hall of Fame [level], so that’s what the goal is.”
Haskins has accomplished many of his football goals thus far, and the Redskins hope when it’s all said and done, he accomplishes this last one as well.
"I want to be great," Haskins said.
MORE REDSKINS NEWS:
- QB Situation: Haskins has his best day of camp on Sunday
- Camp Notes: Offense produces plenty of highlights on Day 4
- Staying Silent: Why a 'quiet' camp for Norman could be great for CB