Trae Waynes



Kenosha connection:

Harborside Academy graduate who played football for Bradford.


Waynes will be a redshirt junior cornerback at Michigan State University this fall.


After redshirting as a freshman in 2011, Waynes has become one of the most highly regarded defensive backs in the country for the Spartans.

Waynes had a breakout 2013 season for a Michigan State team that beat second-ranked Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game and then knocked off fifth-ranked Stanford in the Rose Bowl. Waynes was an honorable mention all-Big Ten selection by the coaches and media, finishing the season with three interceptions and five pass break-ups. One of those interceptions came against the Cardinal in the Rose Bowl.

Following the 2014 NFL Draft in May, a mock draft projected Waynes as being selected No. 27 overall by the New Orleans Saints in 2015, the third cornerback predicted to go in the first round.

Summer routine:

Like all elite college football players, Waynes is spending his summer in the program’s workout and conditioning regimen under Spartans’ head strength and conditioning coach Ken Mannie.

But Waynes is also hitting the books by taking two summer courses as he works towards his degree. He’s a communications major.

“The summer is kind of our downtime, what we consider our break,” Waynes said by phone recently. “But we’re still active 24/7. If we don’t have jobs, then we’re in classes and stuff like that. And then we’re also in conditioning. We’re still busy all the time. It seems like we have a little break in the summer, but the reality is (we’re busy).”

Waynes described a typical summer day for him: “I work out at 7:30 in the morning. We get Wednesdays and weekends off, but every other day we’re working out, and I’m working out at 7:30. And right after that, I have a tutor and classes, and then at 1:00, that’s when we start conditioning. And that goes for a good one to maybe two hours, depending on what we’re doing. And then after that, that’s our time … to finish up our homework.”

Waynes will spend the majority of the summer in East Lansing, though he did have some time recently to visit Kenosha. He finished his first summer session of classes on June 27 and had a 10-day break before he had to go back for his second session.

He said he planned to spend the break hanging with family and friends, such as University of Wisconsin running back and former Bradford teammate Melvin Gordon, but it wasn’t always relaxation.

“We’ll have to (continue to work out), because when we come back they’re going to push us into conditioning probably even more,” he said. “So you have to stay in shape for that.”

What’s next:

Michigan State opens its 2014 schedule with a home game against Jacksonville State on Aug. 29.


Waynes’ immediate goals are pretty straightforward: Keep working to improve and be one of the leaders for a 2014 Spartans’ team that has national championship aspirations.

He’ll face a tough decision about his long-term future, however, once the 2014 season ends. Waynes will have a year of eligibility left at Michigan State, but if he remains projected as a high NFL draft pick, it would be hard to pass up turning pro.

For now, Waynes said he’s trying to avoid worrying about that decision.

“Basically, I’m trying to stay as far away from it as possible,” he said. “A lot of people are contacting me and stuff like that, and I know Melvin (Gordon)’s going through it, too, so we’re all kind of in the same boat with it. What I’m doing is I’m trying to … push it more to my parents so they can handle that part of it. It allows me to focus on school and stuff until the season begins.”

Mike Johnson


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