Dallas County’s Haskell signs with University of West Alabama

Published 7:07 pm Monday, February 6, 2017

Two years ago, the Dallas County High School football team needed a long snapper and coach Marty Smith was giving anyone that wanted an opportunity a chance to prove they could do it.

Patrick Haskell had never snapped the ball before, but he raised his hand and gave it a shot.

“That is the first time I had ever snapped a ball was tenth grade and without any practice, I became a long snapper,” Haskell said.

Email newsletter signup

Although he didn’t know it then, that decision paid off big time.

Haskell signed a letter of intent Monday to play college football at the University of West Alabama. The Tigers needed depth at long snapper and Haskell, now a veteran at the position, fit the mold perfectly.

“The coaches are great, the atmosphere was really nice and they really brought you in like you’re family,” Haskell said of West Alabama. “You aren’t already on the team yet, but they embraced you and showed love toward you.”

During two seasons as Dallas County’s long snapper, Haskell didn’t have one bad snap on a punt or extra point attempt in 22 games.

“It’s a lost art, and it’s an art that you’ve got to have in order to be successful,” said Dallas County coach Marty Smith. “Sometimes people forget that special teams is a third of the game.”

Smith said Haskell snaps the ball in .079 seconds, which is fast for a high school long snapper. In college, he’ll probably need to shave about a tenth of a second off of that time, but Smith said the West Alabama coaches are confident he can do that.

“Most of your Division I snappers are sitting at 0.7 and 0.69, so we’re still a tenth off of where he needs to be but that’s the thing that West Alabama loves,” Smith said. “They see that opportunity to get quicker because he’s got a lot of hitch in his snap which he can correct — just a minor correction for him to achieve that solid number in order to be successful.”

Smith said he hopes Haskell’s story, where he wasn’t afraid to seize an opportunity, inspires younger players on the team to step forward.

“Patrick seized the opportunity and because he seized the opportunity two years ago, it’s now opened the door for him to further his education and the opportunity for him to go play college football,” Smith said. “They’ve got to understand you never know where opportunities are going to come from, be prepared when they do.”

Haskell is the son of Scott and Lynn Haskell. He also played defensive end for Dallas County.