Deltona (Fla.) three-star defensive end Evan Hinson has seen his stock as a football player soar like his finishing moves in the key on the hardwood.
At 6-foot-5, 225-pounds, Hinson began playing basketball before he ever picked up a football. However, as he began to fill out physically, the gridiron became the stage for a free ride to college.
Last month, USC became one of more than a dozen schools to offer Hinson a scholarship.
“I’m coming out to L.A. Jan. 22 with Jachai Polite, the defensive end from Mainland High School,” said Hinson. “He’s from just across the way in Daytona Beach, so we’re going out there together to visit USC.
“I used to watch USC growing up when they had Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart.”
USC assistant coach Keynodo Hudson visited Deltona in person to watch Hinson play basketball.
“I’ve been playing basketball since I was like 5-years-old,” said Hinson. “I wanted to play football too, but the first year I played, I wasn’t that good.
“My second year I got used to it and got better. I started to enjoy it then.”
And now, Hinson has scholarship offers from schools like Miami, South Carolina, Florida, North Carolina, Louisville and others. In fact, Hinson was once committed to Miami, but coaching changes and new options have opened up his horizons.
“USC said they really liked my athleticism and see me as a pass rusher,” said Hinson. “I got a chance to talk to the head coach and that was cool.
“Coach Hudson showed me love from USC, so I got to go out there and take a visit. I’ve been to California before, but I was in San Francisco. My dad worked for the University of San Francisco as a basketball coach.
“I want to see L.A. and my mom wants to come too so she can see L.A..”
Hinson will officially visit USC Jan. 22, but before then, he will head to South Carolina on Jan. 15. His last official visit has yet to be determined.
“I’ve gotten a lot of calls from places, but I don’t know yet,” said Hinson. “I kind of think I’ll make a signing day decision. I’m going to take these visits first.
“The most important thing for me is going to be my relationship with the coaches. That’s the most important thing. Those are the people that are going to be around you the whole time you’re at the school.
“Also, the area is important. How I feel in the area and how the area treats me.”
Hinson, playing basketball, has traveled plenty on the AAU circuit. However, he won’t know if distance is a factor in his recruitment until he makes the trip clear across the country to Los Angeles.
“I’ve talked about that with my family, and I could handle it,” said Hinson. “The whole summer I’m usually away from home.”