For N.C. State running back Nyheim Hines one of the most difficult transitions to college was his first smoky entrance through the tunnel onto the field at Carter-Finley Stadium.
“The smoke comes up, first time I almost had a heart attack, I was trying to fight the smoke,” Hines said about his initial trip through the tunnel. “Now I stand at the back because I might trip over somebody, and I don’t want N.C. State to be on SportsCenter for the team that falls out of the tunnel entrance.”
Hines, who announced on Jan. 12 that he is forgoing his senior season at N.C. State for the NFL draft, is Garner mayor Ronnie Williams’ subject in a new “Great People in Garner” video. It is the latest in a series of promotional videos hosted by Williams touting the town of Garner.
Hines, a former Garner football standout, was interviewed by Williams at N.C. State’s Murphy Center just after the Wolfpack ended the regular season with a 33-21 win on Nov. 25 over North Carolina.
For Hines, his time in Garner was memorable.
“The people at Garner is what makes Garner very special,” Hines said. “The people make it an All-American City. It’s a great hometown.”
Hines revealed he was a Garner football fan long before he suited up for the Trojans.
“I had a cousin who graduated from Garner in 2005,” he said. “I remember going to games and watching Josh Oglesby take it down the sidelines. I knew a lot about Garner. Garner was always a school that was feared in football.”
Hines, who along with his sister Nyah were grand marshals at Garner’s Christmas parade, doesn’t mind sharing celebrity status in Garner. He admires and is friends with American Idol winner and country music singer Scotty McCreery.
“No matter what happens, and Scotty’s a multi-millionaire, Scotty has always been Scotty,” Hines said. “He was on the sidelines (at the UNC game), and he told me to keep representing Garner.”
Hines, who was named first-team All-ACC this past season, said his main improvement this year involved security.
“I protected the ball a lot better this year,” he said.
Speaking of security, he also told Williams that he’s interested in network security and software application for future career aspirations.
His favorite plays of the season were ones that thrilled the Wolfpack fans.
“Probably the two touchdowns this week vs. UNC,” he said. “I made a play when we needed it.”
Hines rushed for 1,112 yards and 12 touchdowns and added another TD on a 92-yard punt return in 2017. Hines ran for a career-best 196 yards and two TDs against UNC on Nov. 25.
Sam Newkirk: 919-829-4526, @samnewkirk64