Michael Hinton Profile
Months ago, when Mike Hinton left for Hargrave, he knew that many challenges lay ahead. The challenge of stiffer competition, tougher academics, and a new regimented lifestyle. What he might not have realized at the time, however, was how much he would truly gain from this experience.
By playing at Hargrave, against college-level competition on a weekly basis, he would be making himself available to scouts from major colleges everywhere. And once the scouts saw Mike's talent, it didn't take long for college coaches everywhere to start showing interest.
Why the interest you say?
Scott Kennedy from TheInsiders.com perhaps summed it up best in his remarks after evaluating Hinton.
"Michael Hinton was one of the most impressive athletes on the floor at the Hargrave Military's combine this December. At 6-3 and 210+ he ran a 4.4 flat on the indoor surface. He looked equally impressive in one-on-one passing drills. He has the frame of a linebacker, and the coverage skills of a corner. That combination of skills makes him one of the top safety prospects in the south this year. "
I asked Mike to talk about his experience at Hargrave thus far and about all of this newfound attention. "It's been great all around. I had a great season and having an opportunity to play against better competition made me a whole lot better. I'm told this has been one of the best Hargrave teams ever as far as talent, we went 8-1 on the year."
It was during his time at Hargrave that a lot of schools started noticing Mike. "Louisville, Maryland, FSU, Duke and some others have come on real strong lately. I visited Lousiville, and it was nice. The Maryland visit this last weekend was cancelled because of snow. I may try to get up there, but not on a weekend, most likely during the week sometime. And Virginia Tech - They really started recruiting me hard early on and, as you know, NC State has always been in the picture. "
In fact, it wasn't so long ago that many thought Mike was a virtual lock to sign with the Wolfpack. He was making many unofficial stops in Raleigh, including one during last year's Red-White scrimmage when he actually wore a Wolfpack basketball jersey. It was soon after that, however, during the time immediately preceding his move to Hargrave and thereafter that Virginia Tech came bursting into the picture.
"It was around that time that Tech started showing me a lot of interest. They really let me know that they needed me. " Hinton said. "They are actually recruiting me as a wide receiver. That's where they need help the most and they think I can come in immediately and help out."
Uh, but Mike you play defense remember? I mean does the possibility of playing wide receiver appeal to you?
"Absolutely! I mean, I haven't really had a chance to play any offense this season because we have a really good defense and coach wants to keep me there, but yeah, I like the idea of playing on the offensive side."
While we were on the subject, I thought I might as well go ahead and ask Mike what position he was being recruited for from the other schools on his list.
"Well, basically everyone wants me at corner and safety. At NC State they are willing to look at me in both positions and see how I do." One quick note, Mike has told TSW previously that he prefers playing corner over safety.
I went on to ask Mike about his visits so far and if any one thing stood out that impressed him.
"At Virginia Tech while I was up there for my visit, I got a personal phone call from Mike Vick. He talked to me for a while about how much Tech meant to him and about how they helped him get to where he's at now. He let me know how much they [Tech] wanted me there. It meant a lot to hear that coming from him."
So basically we are down to two schools, Virginia Tech and NC State. What about all those other schools he visited or plans to visit? Mike tells it like this, "It may just be too little too late for schools like FSU, Louisville, and some of the others. Something big would have to happen to make me choose a school other than NC State or Virginia Tech. They have both been involved with me for a long time. I mean, how could I go wrong with either one? NC State – Virginia Tech, you could put those two next to each other and they offer me the same types of advantages. They are very similar programs in my eyes."
I should note that off-the-record Mike told me which team he would likely sign with, but in the interest of not upsetting an entire fan base prematurely, I've decided to hold this info until I speak with Mike again after his trip to Raleigh. I'll add that Mike felt it was a good idea to hold this info as well.
As for his trip to Raleigh Mike had this to say. "Yep, we are all set to go. We will probably head out in about 30 minutes (6:30 est). I'm looking forward to the visit. I've been up there [NC State] many times, but never on an official. I can't wait."
I expect a decision to be made, and possibly be made public, either this weekend or sometime soon after. You can be sure that we will have a full story for you as soon as that takes place.
Finally, I'm forced to write now about another aspect of Mike that is seldom documented, Michael Hinton the person. Whichever school wins his talents will no doubt also gain a truly great person. In the time (almost a year now) that I have been in contact with Mike, he has been nothing but polite, well spoken, and respectful almost to a fault.
Let me end this now by adding that regardless of which college Mike goes on to attend, and what uniform he goes on to wear, he has earned a lifelong fan in me, and likely most others he's come into contact with during this insane process of college recruiting.
Mike Hinton returned Monday from his NC State visit during Super Bowl weekend. TSW caught up with…