Texas LB Hinton has Mad Swagger

It's not easy to get overlooked in talent-rich Texas, even when you're a 5-foot-10, 210-pound inside linebacker. While the undersized D'Vonta Hinton (Texas City HS) isn't exactly a household name in the Lone Star State, in the last couple weeks he's seen his stock rise significantly among college recruiters.

It's not easy to get overlooked in talent-rich Texas, even when you're a 5-foot-10, 210-pound inside linebacker. While the undersized D'Vonta Hinton (Texas City HS) isn't exactly a household name in the Lone Star State, in the last couple weeks he's seen his stock rise significantly among college recruiters. After securing early verbals from the likes of McNee State and Louisiana Tech, Hinton added a Maryland offer in late February before securing a Texas Tech scholarship in early March.

"These last couple offers, it was a relief for me, because some schools don't want to offer me because of my height. But shoot I've played against players that have a ton offers that I'm flat out better than on the field," said the excitable Hinton, who talks a mile a minute in an evident Texas draw. "I can't help my height; I can't make myself taller, but I can control how I play. And I bring it every down, and the colleges are starting to notice."

Hinton went on to say he was thrilled when the Terps pulled through because it was his first FCS offer. He said Maryland receivers coach Keenan McCardell had stopped by Texas City in January and began talking to Hinton's high school coach about him. Then, after McCardell and the UMD staff had watched Hinton's film and reviewed his transcripts, they decided to extend the offer.

"Coach McCardell called my coach up and let him know first, and then I called Coach McCardell to get the news," Hinton said. "He was telling me how he loved how quick I am, how physical I am, how I love to hit and how I always bring it. Oh shoot, he loved me, for real."

Turns out that love is reciprocal, at least for now.

"Oh shoot, that offer was sweet," Hinton said. "I know the dude that made Under Armour [Kevin Plank] went there, and they have the sweetest uniforms. And moving from the ACC to the Big Ten, shoot, that's big, real big. They'll be playing teams I really like like Michigan, Ohio State. That's big time right there. There's lots of fans, lots of noise in those places – lots of lights. That's the environment I want to be in."

At this point Hinton does not have a scheduled visit to College Park, Md. He said he won't be able to make it up due to financial constraints this offseason but would like to take an official in the fall or next winter.

"I know you can take five officials, and at this point, based on the schools that have offered me, I'll probably visit Maryland," Hinton said. "I mean, you always have to reevaluate and look at things, and I'm not sure what other schools are going to offer. But right now I have four offers, and if I had to say right now I'd love to visit Maryland."

Evidently distance isn't a concern for Hinton. While many Texas recruits prefer to stay in-state, Hinton said he harbors no allegiance to the Lone Star State programs, saying he watched all teams growing up and had no favorites.

"It doesn't matter to me. I'll go to the school that gives me the best opportunity to play. I don't care where it is," Hinton said. "I'll go where they really want me and where they really believe in me… It really is about the best fit for me and what I'm looking for academics wise, what they run defensively, and how I fit in. I don't know exactly everything I'm looking for yet because I haven't done all my research, but I'll have a better idea when I really start going deep into this process. Right now I'm just collecting offers and enjoying it."

Even though Hinton wouldn't mind exploring out-of-state options, he does have plenty of love for the Texas schools, namely the one that's offered him so far. He said Texas Tech is a program he's fairly familiar with and has seen play on TV before.

"Well, I know they're an Under Armour school like Maryland, and that's always a good thing," Hinton said, chuckling. "It's a great program over there, a great school. But, really, I can't say who I really like yet because it's so early and I haven't done all my research. At this point, pretty much everyone is in play."

Hinton is also receiving interest from BYU, Baylor, Kansas State, TCU, Oklahoma, Colorado and Houston. He has visited TCU and Texas for junior days, taken in games at Houston and SMU, and plans to visit Texas Tech in the near future since it's just an hour away from his home.

"We'll see what other offers come in. I do get overlooked a little because of my height, but, you know, Maryland, Texas Tech, McNee State and Louisiana Tech – they didn't see height," said Hinton, who said he is being recruited as a linebacker. "I respect that. Those schools looked past the height and looked at what I could do in pads.

"And, heck, I was first-team all-state as a linebacker, and I can play a lot of different positions. Last year I was just an LB, but this year I'll be playing running back, safety, outside backer – everywhere."

Hinton said he runs the 40-yard dash in the 4.6-second range, meaning he could probably play a strong safety spot at the next level. Last year he recorded 128 tackles, 27 tackles for loss, one sack and two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown.

"All through my life people have been questioning me because of my height, but I've proved them wrong at every level. I'll line up anywhere, anytime and make plays," Hinton said. "I'm a sideline to sideline guy, I have a fast takeoff, I have a nose for the ball, I'm quick to the ball, and I have a ‘king of the jungle' mentality. I own the field. My only weakness is my height, which I can't control. That's it for real."

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