How a mistaken identity of high school teammates in a robbery case has threatened a college football future

Yasmon Haynes (Photo: Hudl) Photo: Hudl

How a mistaken identity of high school teammates in a robbery case has threatened a college football future

Outside The Box

How a mistaken identity of high school teammates in a robbery case has threatened a college football future

At one time, Yasmon Haynes was a can’t miss college prospect. A 6-foot-3, 300 pound defensive lineman, he ended up at Laney College in Oakland to take an interim community college route to a Division I FBS or FCS football program, a free ticket to a four-year degree. All was going according to plan until an unforeseen hiccup that completely turned his life upside down: Haynes was accused of robbery in his native Fresno.

Yet Haynes has steadfastly insisted he wasn’t involved in the robbery. And then, an intriguing twist: One of Haynes’ closest friends and teammates from Edison, Xavier Hamilton, stepped forward and turned himself in to police in connection with the crime, which focused on the theft of $300 during a planned iPhone sale.

As reported by the Fresno Bee, the thread of Haynes and Hamilton’s time together playing for Edison has run throughout the remarkable case, which now could shift Friday when a Superior Court judge will hear arguments to dismiss the case against Haynes because of Hamilton’s confession.

To the man who coached both teens at Edison, the latest turns in the case are fitting for both Haynes and Hamilton, but especially for the 19-year-old who is suddenly staring at years in jail for a disappointing mistake.

“(Hamilton turning himself in is) Totally believable,” now-former Edison head football coach Matt Johnson told the Bee. “At Edison, we stressed the importance of family, that we have to stick together. (Hamilton) is a great kid with a big heart. As much as I love him, he had bouts of running with some bad characters.

“It’s sad to hear he’s in trouble, but it also is an awesome feeling to know he stepped up to the plate. That shows a lot of character.”

Should Haynes see the charges against him dropped, he’ll be free to head off to his college football career, likely at either Lamar University (in Texas) or Southeastern Louisiana, both of whom extended him a scholarship offer.

There’s much more to the story, as chronicled in extensive detail by the Bee, which we heartily encourage you to read. If nothing else, it’ll make anyone a fan of Haynes, wherever he ends up.

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