The Wolfpacker

September 2017

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 27 of 95

28 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY JACEY ZEMBAL V ersatile playmaker Nyheim Hines had a prolific prep career at Garner (N.C.) High, and get- ting enough touches was never an issue. This fall, the junior should also find the ball in his hands quite a bit for the Wolfpack. Hines primarily played running back for Garner, but also saw time as a wildcat quarterback, wide receiver, punt returner and kick returner. He even played some defensive back his junior year, when he racked up an astonishing 3,140 rushing yards and 49 touchdowns plus nine more receiving scores. All told, Hines accumulated 6,242 career rushing yards, 7,299 total yards and 126 touchdowns for the Trojans. His decorated prep career led to him being ranked as the No. 2 all-purpose back and No. 94 overall player in the class of 2015 by NC State's coaching staff and fans were elated when the hometown hero decided to stay home. Hines switched to wide receiver full- time for the majority of his first two years at NC State, only playing running back when injuries and attrition struck during his freshman year. The theory was that at 5-9 and 197 pounds — he has gained close to 20 pounds since high school — it would be easier to make an impact at slot receiver, where he could showcase his impressive speed. The extra weight will come in handy now that he's back at his first love, making the switch to running back this past spring. "I'm not sure yet [how it will go] be- cause I haven't played it full-time, but I'm really excited to play it," Hines said. "I've played it my entire life, going back to Gar- ner and then before that at [Raleigh] Lees- ville Road [during his freshman year]. I'm excited to see how things have changed. "Receiver was fun, but running back is being back home. Even when I'm at run- ning back, the receivers will tell me I'm back in my natural habitat." Home Run Hitter NC State running backs coach Des Kitchings knows that getting the ball to Hines in space and out of the backfield will be a point of emphasis this season. "You saw that at Clemson, when we put him in the backfield and released him against [linebacker] Ben Boulware, and he had an explosive play," Kitchings said. "[Graduated rusher] Matt Dayes could do the same things for us, so there are simi- larities with that. Nyheim's focal point is to now be a running back, and we can do other thing with him. "This is a big year for him. I recruited him here to be an impact player on offense and to score points." Hines has been able to showcase his blazing speed — named Hines the fourth-fastest player in college football with a wind-aided 10.34 seconds in the 100-meter dash — on kick returns the last two years. He had a 100-yard return for a touchdown against Clemson in 2015, and another 100-yarder for a score in the Inde- pendence Bowl victory against Vanderbilt last year. Bra'Lon Cherry more than ca- pably handled punt returns, but Hines will take over that role this fall. Hines had his moments in the passing game, particularly when he exploited his matchup against Florida State to the tune of 11 catches for 124 yards. He finished his sophomore year with 43 catches for 525 yards, but didn't get a touchdown through the air. He averaged 7.3 touches per game with a high of 14 against FSU, but also had three contests with just three touches between rushing, receiving and returning kicks. The Wolfpack coaches came to the con- clusion that following the graduation of Dayes and departure of redshirt freshman Johnny Frasier, Hines would return to run- ning back. Hines will still get used in a variety of spots in the passing game, which could aid his long-range goal of playing in the NFL. "The backfield route stuff, he can catch a swing route or an out route, and if he out leverages you, it could be a big play," head coach Dave Doeren said of Hines. "The mismatch things that you can gain — par- ticularly if you are playing teams that bump linebackers and make them play man-to- man in space — will be big for us." Hines, junior Reggie Gallaspy and fifth- year senior Dakwa Nichols will try to col- lectively replace Dayes, who rushed 249 times for 1,166 yards and 10 touchdowns while also catching 32 passes for 267 yards in 2016. Senior H-back Jaylen Samuels might also log some time at running back. "Matt is a really good running back, but we are trying to find three people that did what Matt did," said Hines, who knows the complete playbook for running back, wide receiver and even tight end. Between the return game, possibly 10- plus carries in the run game and whatever receptions he adds, the days of getting 20- plus touches should return for the dynamic back. "In college, I don't think anyone would want 40 touches to begin with," Hines said about the Garner High days. "I am really just trying to take all the opportunities that I can to get the ball. J-Sam, Reggie, even [redshirt junior quarterback] Ryan [Fin- ley], we have playmakers. We have Kelvin [Harmon] and Steph [Louis] too [at wide- out]. I don't need to touch the ball 40 times anymore." Hometown Hero Hines has always been a dual-sport star, with track and field his other passion. He knows in track he controls his own destiny, but it helps him get a different viewpoint. Likewise, the move to running back could help him control his own destiny on the football field again. Hines earned All-America honors for his role on the 400-meter relay squad (39.48), which finished seventh at the NCAA Championships in 2016. Hines also earned All-ACC laurels in the 60-meter dash dur- ing indoor season and 100 meters in the outdoor portion. His personal-best official time in the 100 is 10.42 seconds, which placed 28th at NCAA East Regional. The football-track lifestyle has brought some important people into his life over the years. Hines grew up good friends with Keith Marshall (Georgia football) and his younger brother Marcus Marshall (Georgia Tech/James Madison football), Chris Love Jr. (East Carolina football) and his younger Creating Mismatches NC State Plans To Exploit Speedy Nyheim Hines At Running Back Hines has carried the ball just 61 times for 287 yards his first two years at NC State, but racked up a school-record 6,242 yards on the ground during his prep career at Garner (N.C.) High. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN

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