Texas Tech is in dire straits in terms of depth along the offensive line, and lineman Jacob Hines out of Long Beach City College might be just what the doctor ordered. Hines took a visit to Texas Tech on Thursday and was offered while on campus. He was pleasantly surprised by the Hub City.
"I thought Lubbock and Texas Tech were great. Being from Long Beach, a major city, Lubbock was something different. It's just a smaller town in Texas where it's all about football 24/7, especially with it being a college town. I thought that was a really great aspect. Like I said, something different, something I'm not used to."
Texas Tech's resources particularly impressed Hines.
"I thought Tech itself, the stadium, the facility, everything was just great. They were just things I'm not used to, especially being from a city college, nothing against LBCC, but Texas Tech is D1, Power Five football."
The 6-foot-4, 310-pound prospect is a full qualifier and thrived as the starting left tackle for the Vikings last season, as the team was a buzzsaw in the conference and finished 10-2 overall after a tough playoff exit.
"LBCC was a great atmosphere, a great place to be. I stepped on campus and felt at home. You know, we went 9-1, 10-2 after the playoffs, we should have gone further and played for a national title, but things just didn't go our way the last game. But LBCC was a great place, great coaches, everybody's amazing up there. They helped me get better and compete at a high level, and it's why I got an offer from Tech."
After sitting with coach Hays and watching film, Hines really likes Texas Tech's offensive scheme and thinks he'd be a great fit.
"We run more pro style over there, but after sitting down with coach Hays and watching some film, very similar to what Tech has to offer. A lot of zone schemes, zone blocking, PA Bootleg and things like that, it just feels really similar and that's something I really like about Tech. It's more about getting names and play-calling down than anything else."
Hines is versatile enough he could end up playing any position along the line.
"[Coach Hays] wants me on the left side, either at guard or tackle, just depending on how things shake out. But personally I'm open to wherever I can play, come in and compete. If I have to snap at center, I'm down for that. I just want a legit chance to come in and play, which coach Hays has offered."
The visit sparked some interest from some other programs, including two SEC schools who have been in contact with Hines since he visited Texas Tech.
"Some other schools, just because of Tech, are starting to look around to me. Missouri hit me up today, the Auburn coach hit me up today, they're just kind of waiting to look and see what I decide with Tech and see if they want to stay in contact with me."
Hines and coach Hays have been in contact since before the spring evaluation period started. They have a good relationship.
"Personally, I love coach Hays so far. He's been up front and honest with me, hasn't pulled any punches, tells me what he thinks I can do and areas I need to improve. I appreciate that from a coach."
Hines, who will have four years to play three at the next level, recognizes the roster situation at Texas Tech and is very high on the Red Raiders.
"Like I said, he's given me the opportunity and just shown me what he thinks about the players on the roster, and he thinks that I have a legitimate shot to come in and compete for a starting position. That's all I really ask for. I know a starting position isn't going to be given to me, but I want this opportunity to come in and compete."
Hines' timeline is extremely short, and a decision could be made prior to this publishing.
"I probably will make a decision sometime soon, at the latest maybe the end of next week, even then that's kind of cutting it close. I want to get home, talk with my family, talk with my coaches, see what they think. I really do like Tech, but of course, I can't just make the decision on my own. I know it's a personal choice, but I've still gotta run it by my family and everyone else back home."
As a full qualifier, Hines wouldn't have to wait until graduating and can join the team prior to the beginning of fall camp.
"I actually come in the summer, because at LBCC we end our spring semester on June 7th or 8th. I would probably fly back to Tech that night or the day after, and probably just start rolling from there."