Jermale Hines is less than a week away from moving into the dorms at Ohio State where he will get a head start academically and will also train with the Buckeyes through the summer months.
Hines will likely be an outside linebacker for OSU before it’s all said and done, but he thinks he will get his first crack in the secondary.
“I’m going to probably start off at strong safety and work my way down and pick up some weight,” Hines said. “I will probably end up at Will (weakside linebacker).”
The 6-foot-2 Hines says he weighs 204 pounds. The Cleveland Glenville product was asked to reveal his goals for his freshman season at OSU and if he thinks he might redshirt.
“Basically, I just want to go down there and work hard and let everything take care of itself,” he said. “But I want to play, I won’t lie. I’m just going to work hard and let everything take care of itself. I’m very excited. It’s something I’ve been waiting for my whole life and it’s almost here now.
“Next Sunday, the day after this (North-South all-star) game, I will move in my dorm.”
Hines says he has been staying in close contact with OSU linebackers coach/co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell and has been working out hard with a personal trainer.
“I’ve got a trainer – the Euclid trainer – and (OSU) gave me a packet and I’ve been working off the packet,” Hines said. “That’s what I’ve been doing. It’s a six-week plan. It includes weightlifting, all kinds of speed drills, 20 minute run, all sorts of things.
“The 100-yard dash is probably the toughest. That really affected me. That was pretty hard. We had to 10 100-yard dashes and it had me throwing up a little bit.”
Hines was jokingly asked why he didn’t just do nine sprints instead of 10.
“Ha,” he said. “Like I said, I’m trying to come down here and play right away. I mean, so I’ve got to work hard by myself. I only take about a 20 or 30-second break between sprints, so I get very winded.”
Hines also explained what he thinks he will be doing this summer after he arrives at Ohio State.
“Basically, just lift and run with the team,” he said. “And I’m going to summer school so I can get ahead a bit.”
‘Glenville Pipeline’ keeps pumping out talent
There were several Glenville Tarblooders that Hines looked up to over the past couple of years. But he was asked if he patterned his game after any of Glenville’s former players.
“Not really,” he said. “But I did really look up to Freddie Lenix as a linebacker. He was a great linebacker and that is who I sort of take my game after.
“I’d say (my game) something like his. I don’t know if I can actually compare myself to him yet, but I’d say it’s something like his.”
Glenville head coach Ted Ginn Sr. called Hines arguably the best player he’s ever coached, which is saying quite a bit.
“It means a lot to hear him say that,” Hines said. “But it’s hard to believe considering how many good players came through there. But it does mean a lot to me.”
So who is the best player that Hines can remember seeing from Glenville?
“I would probably have to say Darius Hiley,” he said. “He actually went down to Ohio State out of Glenville, but he got in trouble and now he’s at Hyrum University in Idaho. He’s working his way back, but I would have to say he’s the best I’ve seen.”
Hines says he learned a lot from following Hiley’s struggles at OSU.
“Yeah, with his off-the-field troubles, I know you have to come down here to Columbus and take care of your business and just keep my head in the books and just play football,” Hines said.
The big issue for Hines as a senior was passing the new Ohio Graduation Test (OGT). But he eventually passed an was admitted by OSU.
“Yes, I got all that straightened out,” he said. “It was very worrisome knowing that if I didn’t pass it I wouldn’t be going to school. So, I studied hard and had good faith and just thank God that I passed it.
“Throughout the process, Coach Ginn just said, ‘Be strong, work hard, keep your head up and good things will come.’”
And while there have been a few Glenville graduates like Hiley who couldn’t cut it at OSU, there have been even more that have excelled. Troy Smith, Ted Ginn Jr, and Donte Whitner being the most prominent. And Hines wants to make sure he keeps the tradition alive.
“We definitely have a legacy to live up to,” he said. “I mean, people from our school go there each year and do well. So, the people that come after them, we definitely want to do well, or even better than they did.”
And even looking past college, Hines knows that the Glenville players have also paved a path to the NFL that he hopes to follow.
“I definitely see the possibilities,” Hines said. “But at the same time, it’s hard for me to imagine being in that spot. I’m still amazed that I’m here. But you look at it and Donte went (eighth overall in the 2006 NFL draft) and Ted came back and went ninth this year. It definitely woke me up some. And Troy Smith won the Heisman Trophy and they were all from my school. It definitely woke me up a little bit.”
What was that part about Hines saying he’s “amazed” that he’s made it this far? That’s not the type of confidence you usually hear from an athlete of his stature.
“It’s still like a dream to me,” he explained. “It’s something I’ve dreamed about my whole life. I started playing football when I was 8 and watched games on TV every Saturday all day. It’s just something I dreamed about and now that my college career is almost here, it’s still like a dream to me.”
Hines describes his best assets on the football field to be his “toughness and speed.”
And if he had to work on one thing before he begins his college career, it would be hitting the weights (and the buffet) a little harder.
“I’d have to say my size is the one thing I want to improve,” he said. “But there is always room to improve in all areas like my speed. But I’d have to say my size.”
Hines will representing the North in the oldest high school all-star game in the country on Saturday at Crew Stadium in Columbus. And he thinks his team will have an edge over the South.
“I’d have to say the North is going to win,” Hines said with a smile. “I just feel we have better athletes all around. That’s why I would have to say the North.
“I’m just very honored to be here. I’ve always wanted to play in something like this and it’s an honor to be here.”
Soon after the interview, Hines could be seen joking around and talking to his “buddy” for the week. (Each player has a “buddy” who is handicapped and they are given jerseys to wear with the name and number of their host player.)
In addition to being a talented athlete, Hines is a grounded young man and he could develop into a fan-favorite at OSU.