St. Clair has had several talented football players at the skill positions over the last few seasons.

But it’s been the players in the trenches, like Josh Haynes, who cannot be overlooked for the team’s success.

Although Haynes missed the final five games of his senior season with a broken foot, he left his mark on the St. Clair football program.

Haynes, a four-year varsity member who played center, guard and noseguard for the Bulldogs, recently signed a letter of intent to play football at Avila University in Kansas City.

The Avila Eagles compete on the NAIA level in the Heart of America Athletic Conference.

Haynes also considered Coe College (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), Missouri Valley College and Greenville College (Greenville, Ill.), but chose Avila.

“I chose Avila because they have very nice facilities,” Haynes said. “I like how their football program is starting to develop. That’s something I want to be a part of.”

Haynes earned all-Four Rivers Conference and all-area defensive lineman honors as a senior despite his injury. He totaled 20 tackles with one sack and one interception.

St. Clair finished the 2012 season with a 10-2 record.

Haynes also was an all-conference performer as a sophomore and a junior.

“Josh is one of the few kids who has played four years of varsity football here at St. Clair,” said St. Clair Head Football Coach Cody McDowell. “Unfortunately, Josh had a disappointing end to his senior football season with a broken foot, causing him to miss our last five games. Josh was a better defensive lineman for us this year. Before his injury, he was absolutely taking over games for us up front.”

Haynes anticipates playing on the defensive line at Avila.

“As a player, I feel like I am quick off the ball, have a strong upper and lower body and I’m a smart player,” Haynes said. “I could always get stronger, faster and more physical.”

Haynes made his presence known during his football career with the Bulldogs.

“Josh is a kid who would physically impose his will on opposing linemen. When he was playing well up front, he was literally unblockable,” McDowell said. “His strength and size allowed him to control the line of scrimmage. Because he’s been essentially a four-year starter, his football knowledge is very high. His production was definitely missed as we made our run down the stretch this year.”

McDowell expects good things from Haynes at Avila.

“I think Josh will have a great college career at Avila,” McDowell said. “As far as recruiting, his height hurt him a little, as well as missing the last five games. I think Avila and Josh are a good fit. I look for Josh to be very productive at that level.”

Haynes has fond memories of his St. Clair football career.

“My favorite moments at St. Clair were beating Washington and Borgia in the same year, and getting an interception against Pacific,” Haynes said.

Josh is the son of Lori and Greg DeWitt. He plans to major in either criminal justice or history education at Avila.