But the sophomore-to-be from Waco, Texas, feels much more comfortable now – something he noted after his team's eighth workout of the spring on Thursday.
"The biggest shock last year was that you can't make any mistakes or you will get scored on - especially at the position I play," Hines said. "You have to be on your Ps and Qs at all times and the size of the players was way bigger.
"The game (eventually) slowed down for me and I got use to the size of the players and did what I needed to do," Hines said. "It was just going out there and playing. It was exciting those first couple of games being out there. I was a little bit too excited at first and wasn't thinking about the plays, just thinking about playing college football and achieving my dreams."
Hines (6-1, 193) played in all 12 games last season and started the last nine while registering 24 tackles, four pass break ups, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery.
He added 10 pounds over the off-season and feels like he still got faster.
"I have gained some weight and that has really helped me a lot in taking on tight ends and pullers and I think I have gotten a little faster," Hines said. "About 10 pounds to 193. I feel good. They say sometimes when you gain weight you feel slower, but I don't know about that. I think it made me faster."
He joins junior Tevin Mitchel (6-0, 181) in giving the Razorbacks two returning starters at corner while junior college transfer Carroll Washington has joined a mix that includes sophomore Kelvin Fisher, Jr. (5-11, 200) and redshirt freshmen Jared Collins (6-0, 170) and Ray Buchanan, Jr. (5-11, 187).
"We are always pushing each other and competing because everybody wants to be the starter," Hines said. "We are always going to compete, push each other on and off the field and in the weight room. We just keep steady competing.
"Carroll is great and I am glad to have him," Hines added. "He is going to help out a lot. He is aggressive corner. He is going to play some corner and some nickle and move around."
The group is now coached by Taver Johnson, who coached linebackers last season and is the lone holdover from last year's coaching staff.
"It's great," Hines said. "He stays on us on and off the field. It has really helped me with my grades and he is going to make sure you are going to be on time. He is just on top of everything."
Will Hines makes a play last season against Tulsa.