Imagine how he felt after Wisconsin pounded No.20 Penn State into submission to win a share of the Big Ten Leaders Division?
"Going into the Purdue, I already predicted the outcome opposed to the Penn State where I thought the game was going to be really close," Hines told Badger Nation. "The way it turned out definitely changed my views. The crowd was insane. When I was at the Purdue game, the place was intense but Saturday was intense and it was great."
Talking with defensive line coach Charlie Partridge and recruiting coordinator Joe Rudolph, Hines – a 6-2, 265-pound sophomore defensive tackle from Mequon Homestead - was surprised by an invite to attend Wisconsin's Junior Day expected to be in February, one of the first known offers being extended.
"It definitely means the coaches are taking a closer look at me as one of the top 2014 prospects," Hines said. "The coaches believe I can play at that level, which gives me a lot of confidence. I plan to go to the junior day and get a better look from Wisconsin."
A defensive tackle by trade, Hines spent most of the rainy afternoon focused on the interior of Wisconsin's defense. While he didn't see any sacks, Hines saw plenty of pressure that stifled the Penn State running attack, holding the Nittany Lions to only 114 yards and no touchdowns.
"I noticed that their defense put an intense amount of pressure on the offense and I think that was the main thing," Hines said. "When the defense can be on the field for a very minimal amount of time, it's a good thing. Our team is kind of like that and that's what I like about Wisconsin. They are a lot like my program. I chose my program because it's where I can excel the most and I think Wisconsin is a place where I can excel."
After not getting many looks at the varsity level as a freshman, Hines guaranteed his spot at the next level by posting 305 pounds on his bench press and 405 pounds on his squat, showing an innate work ethic in the weight room that impressed his coaches.
"They put some faith in me that I could excel at the varsity level," Hines said. "My first game, I think, I ended up with four tackles and recovered fumble, all with a broken hand."
Hines got his cast off after five games, and it was evident that the sophomore stepped up his game. In his first game back, Hines had four tackles for loss, three sacks and recovered a fumble, finishing the year around 45 tackles, seven sacks and three fumble recoveries. That size and those numbers have obviously impressed the UW staff, as well.
"They saw me on film and knew I was big, but I think they wondered what the kid is like mentally," Hines said. "My advantage is that I am able to talk to the coaches well and carry on a conversation that I can make an impression. A lot of guys talk about their stats first but I like to bring up my academics. I know Wisconsin is a really good academic school and I like to show that I take my academics seriously."
Moving up to Wisconsin in middle school from Tennessee, Hines has taken a Midwest style tour early in his recruiting process, and it only plans to get bigger. Already visiting Michigan State, Hines also plans to take a trip to Illinois and schools to the south and west coast. He does, however, have an early leader.
"Wisconsin is definitely my top school," Hines said. "They aren't my home home-state school, but they are my home school now. I think they are pretty solid. They do a great job of recruiting and despite not getting the top kids, they've become a national powerhouse. I feel that going to a school close to home, plays really well and allows my family to come watch me makes Wisconsin definitely up there."