"This young man right here is something special," said Garner head coach Thurman Leach. "He could make an impact in all three phases of the game. He has elusiveness coming out of the backfield with a vertical cut. But he could also be a shutdown corner."
Hines began his prep career at Raleigh Leesville Road as a freshman. After missing the season opener, he started the remaining games as a defensive back. Offensively, he began the season as a reserve but injuries eventually forced him into the starting lineup at running back and later slot receiver.
Following the season, Hines moved and thus transferred to Garner where he was used in a similar capacity – starting defensive back and reserve running back. He ended the season with 52 tackles and two interceptions. Despite sharing time in the offensive backfield, he rushed for 750 yards and 14 scores on 95 carries and caught 21 passes for 304 yards and four scores. He also became a major weapon as a returner averaging 21.27 yards on punt returns and 36 yards on kickoff returns with four touchdowns. Leach says Hines' return numbers would have been better if four additional scores weren't called back by penalties.
For his junior season, Hines' role on the team will be altered somewhat.
"He's going to be the focal point of the offense – there's no doubt about that," Leach said. "He's a dynamic player and when you have the opportunity to have a player like that you better expound on his abilities. We're looking forward to him in the I-[formation], we're looking forward to him in the one-back, [and] we're looking forward to him at quarterback as a ‘Wildcat.' We're going to put him in the slot and let him play a little receiver and run some smoke screens and jailbreak screens, and then run some jet sweeps with him."
Hines has collected scholarship offers from Duke, East Carolina, and North Carolina. Georgia, Maryland, South Carolina, and West Virginia have also inquired, according to Leach.
UNC offered Hines early last week. During the early part of that week, Hines spoke to assistant coaches Blake Anderson, Ron West, and lastly Randy Jordan.
"Coach Jordan told me that he really liked me and that he hoped to come by [my school] to see me," Hines said. "But if not, he said he looked forward to seeing me at their camp."
Most schools are recruiting Hines as an athlete, but are leaning towards running back. Leach is unsure where Hines projects best, position wise, on the collegiate level.
"It will be up to the coaching staff when they have the opportunity to work with him," Leach said. "I think he'll be special wherever he's at."
Several coaching staffs will receive that opportunity this summer. Hines says he'll definitely camp at UNC in June, and is also considering camping at Clemson, Georgia, Florida, and Florida State.
Those aforementioned camps will be Hines' first visits to a college campus as a recruit. With that said, Hines doesn't claim any favorite schools.
Hines also runs track for Garner. He qualified for the NCHSAA 4A State Track Meet on Saturday in the 100-meter dash and the 300-meter hurdles. His personal best times are 10.7 seconds in the 100 and 39.15 in the 300-hurdles, which he considers his best event…. In the classroom, Hines maintains a 3.8 GPA… Hines' twin sister, Nyah, is also a standout in women's track-and-field… Hines' father played football for Lenoir-Rhyne and his aunt played soccer at UNC. He also has family members who graduated from Florida and Florida State… Hines said he grew up a fan of Clemson, Florida, Florida State, and Oregon.