While most high school students on spring break were sound asleep at 4am Thursday morning, 2014 Mequon, Wisconsin defensive tackle Brandon Hines was on his way to Ann Arbor, Michigan to take in a Wolverine spring practice and meet the coaching staff for the very first time.
"We got up there around 10:30am and we met with Coach Singletary, he gave us a nice tour around the entire campus, not the entire campus, kind of like the locker room, indoor practice facility, weight room and stuff like that," Hines told GBW. "Then he brought us back up to Coach Mattison's office, my mom and I, and we spoke with Coach Mattison for about 15 minutes and then I'd like to say we went back out where they had a whole bunch of stuff set up for me."
"It was really good," said Hines. "Coach Mattison kind of told me where I was at with the program and kind of told me what they expect of their players when they get there and we kind of just went over things like that, the advantages of Michigan and that was kind of the summary of it but it was all good stuff, all valuable information that we learned, me and my mom."
Next on the agenda for Hines and his mom was a meeting with defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery who came off very direct and straightforward, something Hines took a liking to.
"He told me, basically, when they offer kids that, the kids usually don't wait around too long," said Hines. "He was telling me right after signing day for seniors they had 10 commitments from juniors within the next week so he said that when kids get offered you don't want to wait around and wait until signing day because then your spot might be taken and that's the thing with their interiors, they're going to need a lot of interior guys so they might offer 8 and I'll have to make that decision sooner than later if they need 3. We kind of went over the scheme that they have and he showed us some football plays and stuff like that and we kind of talked about family, a lot of things like that so it was a really good talk with him, we talked about like fitness and kind of like ways to improve on the defensive line with speed and everything."
With two meetings under his belt it was time for Hines to put his thinking cap on and learn more about what Michigan has to offer off the field and what the 6'2, 280 pound defensive tackle heard speaks to a new generation of carrying a book bag.
"I had a meeting with the strength training coach and then we went to the academics building and we kind of had a meeting with three people," said Hines. "The first guy showed us the advantages of the academic support at Michigan, the second guy kind of showed us the resources we have with technology there and how they integrate ipad's into learning where students don't have to carry around books, they can just carry around their ipad that has all of their books on it so that was extremely nice. They also had another thing set up where we met with a lady named Shari and she showed us a program that they have where athletes find something besides football as their careers after college, so that was really nice, that was good."
After a rendezvous around Ann Arbor coupled with dinner, Hines and his mother headed back to Schembechler Hall to take in practice which was a neat experience for Hines, seeing the coaches so hands on along the defensive line.
"It was a really fast tempo I think," said Hines. "They always blow the whistle, they never sat around at all. Everyone on the team got reps in practice which was nice, that's what I like so like the freshmen, redshirt freshmen, they all got reps in and you know it was just really competitive. It was a nice short 2 or 3 hour practice, wasn't really lengthy and it was really nice, I liked it a lot. The defensive line, Coach Hoke being a former defensive line coach and Coach Mattison being a former defensive line coach and then Coach Montgomery, that means that they have a lot of focus on the defensive line and that's really great -- so I saw Coach Hoke getting after them a lot which is really nice. Really nice practice facilities and everything. – I just enjoyed myself."
The trio of coaches Hines would be provided with if he were to become a Wolverine clearly made an impression on the shot put thrower, but in order for that to happen a scholarship will need to be extended – did Michigan offer the Wisconsin star?
"They actually didn't offer," said Hines. "What they said was in order -- they kind of told me where I was at as far as an offer goes, they said that kind've because Coach Hoke told me at the end of the practice that Coach Mattison was going to be coming in to see me a couple of times. So he's going to be in my school I think during the spring time a couple times and probably watching me throw shot or watch me work out or something -- but that's kind of where they were at. He said to have an offer from Michigan all I have to do is just keep my grades up, stay focused in school and really just display good character. He said if I do all of those things then an offer will probably be at my door or something like that."
After spending more than half of his season last fall with a broken hand, Hines still managed to compile 60 tackles and 7 sacks from his defensive tackle spot, thanks in large part to proper technique.
"I have a really good swim move, spin move and I play technical and I don't bull rush a lot," said Hines. "I like to use my moves to my advantage. You know if you beat a player with speed rather than bull rushing you'll accomplish more than just saying you're going to charge through someone because that's really not the case.I do like to play aggressive and I do play aggressive but I think I'm more of a technical player."
With Hines visit to Michigan over, the focus now shifts to his upcoming trips as he plans on stopping by a couple of Big Ten School's this spring.
"I think I'm going to Iowa for the spring game on Saturday and then after that I'm not exactly sure if I have any other certain visits," said Hines. "Of course I'm going to Wisconsin for spring practice and the spring game but those are the only sure ones that I'm going to."
Brandon Hines offered by Michigan?
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