Top Three For Ohio Star

Jermale Hines plays in a high school program that routinely puts players into the upper echelon of Division 1 college football, and the talented two-way standout will certainly add his name to that list following his senior season. He's begun to narrow down his list of schools, and has a top three in mind as he prepares for his final year of high school action.

Hines has offers from numerous schools, including West Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Purdue, Louisville and Cincinnati. He's also very interested in Ohio State – the only school among his top three that has not offered. For now, three of those schools hold an edge on the others.

"I'm very interested in West Virginia," said Hines, who has displayed his skills on both sides of the ball for Glenville High School in Cleveland. "I like them a lot. They're in my top three, along with Ohio State and Michigan.

"I haven't visited West Virginia yet, but I hope to do that before schools starts," said Hines, who is being recruited as a linebacker by most of the colleges in pursuit of his signature in February. "I haven't set a date for that yet, but they are definitely one of the schools I want to see."

Like many Ohio players, Hines is hoping for an offer from the Buckeyes. He's not in a hurry to make a commitment, and plans to take all five of his official visits before making a decision. Still, it's a good sign for the Mountaineers that he wants to get in an unofficial visit to the WVU campus as well.

Hines began his high school career in Valdosta, Georgia, where he played quarterback as a freshman and running back as a sophomore. (He also started on defense at linebacker.) After his family moved back to Cleveland before his junior year (Hines was born and raised there before moving to Valdosta in the eight grade), he made the move to the defensive backfield, and played most of the season at safety before a teammate's injury moved him down to an outside linebacker spot. And although he believes he still has improvement to make at that position, he thinks it's the one he's best suited for on the college level.

"It wasn't that hard to move over from offense," said Hines, who counts quickness and his knowledge of the game as his strongest assets on the field. "I had played on defense all along, so it wasn't a tough thing to do. I like playing defense more than offense, so it was a good move for me, and I like giving out the hits rather than getting them."

Hines could still see snaps on offense for Glenville this year, but he's expected to be showcased defensively after earning the team's defensive MVP honors as a junior, when he recorded 97 tackles, eight sacks and four interceptions.

He also, as noted previously, has taken full advantage of playing in a program that has sent a number of players to Division 1 schools.

"I've learned a lot from them on the field," said Hines. "Some have showed me techniques and helped me with things like my footwork, while others have helped me learn more about the game, They've showed me how to make reads better, how to study film, a lot of different things."

Although it will certainly be an anxious time for the coaches recruiting Hines until he makes his decision, the prize will likely be worth the wait. His combination of size, speed and ability have made him one of the top prospects in Ohio.

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