"Definitely getting out to the first camp on the summer circuit was definitely a good way to start off," said Hines after a hard days work. "We got a lot of good training, a lot of good coaches that kept it up-tempo. We're moving around a lot, getting a good sweat going, you know, just trying to work out a lot and improve our skill and speed and everything. So I think it was really an awesome day, a lot of good kids out here and a lot of nice talent; so you get a taste of everything."
After an up and down sophomore campaign, Hines made a change in his figure that benefited him not only from a production stand point but also in the form of some more impressive film for college coaches to lay their eyes on.
"Last year coming into my sophomore season I came in around 280 and I didn't play as fast as I wanted to." Hines said. "So during the end of the season I dropped down to about 260, and I was really—that's what all of my highlights are kind of based off, like the end of the season. This season I've really been working on speed and I'm just going to come in fast at 290—so that's my goal—and just stay around there for my entire junior year. And just improve my strength and lower body."
With impressive tape to show off and garner attention, Hines encountered an obstacle that hindered his initial interest from several college programs. But according to the well-spoken young man, those issues are a thing of the past and nothing but a minor blip on the radar screen.
"The main thing standing in my way was I had a bad last semester academically, so that kind of like dropped my GPA a little bit," said Hines. "I had to go to a funeral right before exams, the weekend before. So, you know, I got back and I just bombed all my exams. So what the coaches really wanted to see was, you know, could I, you know, get my grades up. I was taking a play off in the classroom. So I got my grades up and I have all B's, I don't have anything lower than a B. I think it's a B-flat, so I did excellent this semester. I'm in good position right now, so I brought my GPA back up and that's good. So I should be getting more contact."
Michigan is one of the schools that were looking to see if Hines could get back on track, and as long as that happened an offer could be a possibility down the road. Part of that agreement with the Wolverines also included the appearance of Hines in Ann Arbor for camp this summer, so the coaches can see the gap-filler up close.
"We've just been basically focusing on camp," said Hines. "They told me when I was there, you know, if I just keep my grades straight, keep everything in line, and keep a good head on my shoulders that there will be an offer at my door. So, you know, I definitely feel comfortable with Michigan. I'm just going to take my time and really just learn everything I can about Michigan, because they have a really good recruiting class 2013-wise on the O-line, so that's kind of a benefit of going there—cause you're going to get some good practice and you know it's going to be some really good competition. So that's always something to look at."
Michigan's strong academic track record is a major plus for Hines' mother, who, after an April visit, came away extremely impressed with what the Wolverines offer for academic support to athletes.
"My mom is connected to academics with her work, you know—she works for the school—so that was a big thing with her," said Hines. "We met with the academic counselors at the school [at Michigan], and what they really pressed was: after my playing time at Michigan is over what am I going to do? A lot of football players don't really focus on that, and they [Michigan] focus on that a lot. So that was great, and, you know, the depth they look into the academics is phenomenal."
With a strong camp performance at Michigan, if the Wolverines were to offer, would the defensive stopper out of Wisconsin pounce on it quickly?
"I have no idea," Hines said. "It's going to be like a feeling thing for me, you know, if I feel comfortable with that area, you know. I already like it a lot, my mom likes it a lot, Coach Mattison really likes my mom, Coach Hoke really likes my mom—so they have a good relationship already. That's kind of like my high school head coach and my mom as well, you know, they've always had a good relationship—so that's a plus, definitely. Because that was the first visit she took with me and she really liked it, so it's good. You never know—if I have that feeling, you know, where I feel this is a home for me, I'll definitely decide with a school early."
The camp circuit will be huge for Hines, with several Big Ten schools besides Michigan hoping to get a better feel for what he offers as a defensive tackle.
"A lot of my offers are going to be coming at camp this summer," Hines said, "because I know all of the visits I've taken so far I made the mistake of telling every coach I'm going to camp. So early offers weren't kind of in my picture so now I have to camp in order to get the offers. I'm going to be camping at Michigan State, the University of Michigan, Wisconsin, I have Nebraska next week. And then I'm going to head out to Iowa, and then possibly go out to Oregon, and then I'll be at Illinois for one of their circuit camps."
To see the full video interview, including highlights of Hines at the NFTC in Champaign, Illinois, click play below.