Why Anthony Hines?

Earlier this month Gary Pinkel and the University of Missouri coaching staff wrapped up the incoming recruiting class by signing San Mateo JuCo cornerback Anthony Hines.

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But aren’t the Tigers also returning both corners from a year ago, including one (Kenya Dennis) who is seen by many prognosticators as a potential mid-late round draft pick and another (Aarion Penton) who is so intense that he scares the crap out of me? Yes. And doesn’t that same position group also include senior Cortland Browning who has 28 games of SEC experience, junior John Gibson who has 26 games of SEC experience, and true sophomore Logan (the War Machine) Cheadle who was so impressive to the coaching staff that he saw the field in 13 games just months after peeling his highschool’s parking sticker off the rear-window of his (probably) first car? These things are also true.

Also, weren’t the Tigers in contention for some late-addition defensive linemen? Yes. Isn’t that a place where they are replacing all but 1 (Charles Harris) start from last season including two top 60 choices in the NFL draft? C’est vrai.

Lastly, didn’t that gargan-o-tron JuCo tackle fail to qualify leaving the roster one guy short so the staff should have taken a late-addition DL anyway and it’s kinda dumb that they didn’t? Sure, if you want to look at it that way.

All of these things beg the question: Why Anthony Hines?

Well, he’s really impressive.

The first thing that stands out while watching Hines is that he does not break down while tackling. This CGdk-KSUYAEqSiimay sound counterintuitive because the very first thing you learned about defense while playing Pop Warner football was, “dammit, Fort, quit playing with the dandelions.” Then your coach went right into why you should always breakdown while making a tackle. But that’s just because he knew you’d screw it up. After all, you’re not and never will be a mage-level athlete. Anthony Hines is.

Which leads to the second most impressive thing about him: his size. The guy is 6-2, 185 lbs. He is immediately the Tigers tallest corner (in fact, he’s taller than all of safeties, and would be tied for second tallest starting linebacker) and with four years to complete time of eligibility, mad Doctor Ivey could get the kid to 200+ pounds easily.

And that’s kind of tertiary and kind of not to the third most impressive thing about Hines. He plays a lot like EJ Gaines. He makes tackles behind the line. He diagnoses quick hit plays. He makes back side stops in the running game. The big-hit stick is stuck in forward. The big knock on EJ in the draft was that he just wasn’t big enough. So he fell to the 188th pick despite having “shut down huge first round talent, Mike Evans” on his resume already. All he did after that was earn a starting role in his rookie season. I’ll stop short of claiming that Anthony Hines will be a rookie starter in the NFL, but he has all the measurable that EJ doesn’t, and he sure looks to have some of the skill which made EJ so impressive. That’s a promising combination. Now if we could just get him to adopt that gold Mohawk…

But here’s something else that’s noteworthy—his sophomore status. That pairs him with Cheadle as having three years of playing time left. It’s impossible to say that the future is as impressive as Hines is so far, but it certainly has potential.

 

Also by Adrian Fort: To Those Who’ve Shed the Shirt, We Salute You

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Adrian Fort is a writer from Kansas City. He has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a Masters degree in creative writing. Follow him on twitter @adriananyway

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