Nyheim Hines woke up early Friday morning suddenly thinking about changing his mind. It was a temporary scare for the four-star recruit from Garner High School – and, had they known, for N.C. State fans.
Hines, along with his twin sister, Nyah, announced their decision to accept scholarships from the Wolfpack on Friday afternoon in a packed Garner High auditorium. Nyheim Hines, a 5-foot-9, 187-pound running back, will receive a football scholarship. Nyah Hines joins the ranks of the track and field program.
Hines said that N.C. State’s early move to offer his twin sister and closest friend a track and field scholarship made it even easier to look at the school as a serious option. He informed the N.C. State coaching staff of his decision last week, but told no one outside his family.
“I grew up a hometown fan of State,” said Hines, who played his freshman year at Leesville Road High School. “And Garner people have always told me so many good things about it, been so supportive of State.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
In addition to State, Hines had Duke, North Carolina, East Carolina, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Florida, West Virginia, Georgia and Ohio State on his final list. He said coaches from Duke, Wake and Virginia Tech had done an exceptional job of recruiting him and he knew the phone calls informing those coaches of his decision would be the toughest ones to make.
And he called the attention he’d received of late “stressful and a blessing at the same time.”
But when it came time to make a final decision, the ties to his home state and a desire to play closer to his family and friends – along with an exceptional recruiting push from the Wolfpack – won out.
Hines praised the work of N.C. State coach Dave Doeren and recruiting coordinator/running backs coach Des Kitchings in selling the Hines family on the N.C. State football program.
“State is building a great program,” Hines said. “I really thought hard about my decision ... because you see so many highly recruited players leave the state. But what Coach Kitchings and Coach Doeren are doing is impressive. You see all of the guys they have coming in, getting guys like (6-5, 280-pound Baton Rouge Catholic offensive guard) Aaron Wiltz, and all of the other great recruits. I made the right decision to be a part of the program at State.”
Hines is the 16th three- or four-star recruit to verbally commit to N.C. State from the class of 2015. Verbal commitments are nonbinding; most players will sign their National Letters of Intent in early February. He joins Triangle-area stars James Smith-Williams, a linebacker from Millbrook, and Emanuel McGirt, an offensive tackle from Durham Hillside, as part of the incoming Wolfpack class.
Hines, the No. 24 rated running back in the country by 247sports.com, rushed for 6,844 yards in his high school career and is a standout hurdler in track and field. He said he would not enroll until the fall, after thinking about graduating early from high school and enrolling for the spring semester.
Michael Clark, Scout.com recruiting analyst for the Carolinas, likes the fit of Hines and State.
“It’s a big pickup obviously for N.C. State,” he said. “And State has gotten some big pickups in-state in the last two months. I think it’s a very good fit for Nyheim with the explosive and dynamic skills he has.
“I think you’ll see him line in the slot a lot and they could easily use him on jet sweep-type plays a lot.”
Hines isn’t too worried about what his role with the Wolfpack will be, just getting to work for Saturdays at Carter-Finley Stadium.
“Playing time is going to be all up to me,” Hines said. “I like lining up at running back. But I know I can line up in the slot or be used in a Wildcat package. And I think I could be used at kick and punt returner as well.”
“He’s going to have to find his niche in college,” said Garner football coach Thurman Leach. “Once he finds that, it’s all about going to work and doing the work physically and mentally it takes to perform at that level.”
The consensus is that above all else, Hines and his 4.34 40-yard dash speed have the potential to bring the kind of big-play threat to State’s offense that he provided in Garner’s Trojan Stadium for the past three years.
“He’s a guy who is going to be a major weapon,” Clark said. “Players like him are few and far in between.”