"The one thing I noticed about all the people that were there was they seemed happy to be there. I talked to Chancellor [Carol] Folt – that was great. But all the teachers and advisors I talked to seemed happy to be there – it didn't seem like they were putting on a show."
Hines, a 5-foot-8, 181-pound running back/receiver from Garner (N.C.), isn't exactly sure when he'll announce his finalists. Also, he's uncertain how many schools will make up his final list, but he estimates it will be seven or eight.
At this stage of his research, Hines doesn't know UNC's chances of making the cut.
"I have a lot of other places to go," Hines said. "I'd like to have in-state schools on my list, but if they're not, they're not. There's nothing like home, so I'll see what happens."
Hines's likely summer trips include Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Virginia Tech. Two weeks ago, he visited both Ohio State and West Virginia. He has also has made several trips to local schools Duke and N.C. State.
Hines's good friend Bryce Love is also working to establish a finalists list himself. Hines says their decision processes are independent.
"We've talked about what we like about different places and we've weighed the pros and cons," Hines said. "But I don't think if I pick one school he will pick it or won't pick it, per se. We're going to make our list based on what helps us out the best and is the best for our future."
During Tuesday's visit to UNC, Director of Player Personnel Rory Pommerening and running backs coach Larry Porter teamed up to host Hines. Thus, Hines and Porter spoke throughout the day, including privately during lunch.
"[Our relationship] is alright," Hines said. "But we can work on it and make it better. So we'll probably talk on the phone more and get to know each other better. It shouldn't be on the business level. When you're getting recruited, I feel like you should feel like you can come to that coach about anything and be really great friends with him, besides just being a coach."
While academics monopolized much of the visit, Hines did watch film with offensive coordinator Seth Littrell and wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer.
"I got to see how they used the guy they see me as at Southern Miss, Tracy Lampley," Hines said. "They made a lot of comparisons and showed me a lot of film from their Southern Miss film. And then they showed me some of their spring [practice] films. They showed me how I'd be used in their offense."
Hines also spoke briefly with Ron West, who recruits Wake County for UNC, and met with team chaplain Mitch Mason.
Hines's stay concluded in Larry Fedora's office.
"He told me that he came to Carolina because he wanted to win a national championship and he turned down five or six opportunities because he believed he could do it at Carolina," Hines said. "He said that Carolina is on the rise and they just need some top players to take them to the next level."