Just wrapping up his sophomore year at Gateway High near Pittsburgh, Class of 2017 prospect Robert Hainsey was one of the younger offensive linemen at Nike's regional Opening event in Columbus last week.
Yet he competed with the top group of linemen. And when one-on-ones started, he was stationed at left tackle -- meaning his was facing the best pass-rushers at the camp. Hainsey was not about to duck the top competition by shifting to a different spot. (Above you can see him taking on Ohio State Class of 2016 commit Jonathon Cooper.)
Left tackle is my position, so that's what I play when I come here, he said. You get a lot of D-ends. I definitely improved, because you get a lot of different techniques. Making myself adjust to those techniques is what makes me better, so I like that.
Hainsey gave as good as he got, and was considered one of the better young linemen at the camp. While he did not earn an invite to the national Opening in Oregon later this summer, he viewed the camp as a positive experience.
I learned a lot, especially with my set, he said. The coach was really good. He taught me a lot. I'm gonna try to make (those) things stick so I can use them this season. Just make myself a better player.
He is already pretty good. In fact, as of last week, Hainsey reported he held 11 offers.
His primary contact for the Nittany Lions is you guessed it defensive recruiting coordinator, and former Gateway coach and athletic director Terry Smith.
I've known him for a long time, Hainsey said. I talk to him pretty often.
Hainsey, who said he has also had nice conversations with PSU O-line coach Herb Hand, has already made multiple visits to Penn State. What stood out?
I like their campus, I like their coaches, he said. It feels like family. Everything is nice up there, all of their facilities and whatnot. So yeah, I like it up there.
Penn State has been loading up on offensive linemen in recent recruiting classes, to mitigate the lack of depth James Franklin and his staff inherited in that area.
I see who they offer, and I keep it in the back of my mind, thinking about who I would be playing with, Hainsey said. So definitely, I pay attention (to that).
As of this writing, Hainsey had not firmed up his plans for summer camps or visits. Likewise, he has not set a timetable for picking a college.
As far as committing goes, I'll commit when I know where I want to go, and that's about it, he said. I don't have a timeline. I just want to make sure I (make) the right decision.
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Hainsey's last name is pronounced HANE-see.
His first name is Robert, but people call him Rob.