FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Cleveland Glenville four-star linebacker Jermale Hines knew he was one of the better players in Cleveland. He also knew he was one of the better players in Ohio and in the Midwest. But the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl was a chance to see where he stood nationally.
And after the first full day of practices, Hines believes he belongs on the national stage the All-American Bowl presents him.
"You always want to look around and see where you are when you compete nationwide," Hines said. "You want to put yourself on the scale and see where you rank. I feel I rank very high. I had a good first day of practices."
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He did get banged up a little bit at practice when he stuck his right hand in to deflect a pass. He ended up spraining one of his fingers and had to get ice treatment after practice. He said it's not going to slow him down at all on Monday and the rest of the week.
"I like the people, and I like the football side of things," Hines said. "Practices are a little more up tempo than what I'm used to, so I have to adjust to that. Other than that, everything is really good. I like how everything is going so far."
The East is loaded with an amazing linebacker group, but it's a defensive back that caught Hines' eye the first day.
"I have to say the strong safety from Alabama (Michael McNeil) has impressed me the most," he said. "He's a hard-hitting safety. All of us are really good. I just have to go out there and do my part and show them what Ohio football is all about."
Hines heard late on Saturday that his teammate, Lebron Daniel, had committed to Iowa. He said he was happy with Daniel's decision, but said it would play no factor in his final choice.
"That was good for him, but I'm still going to wait it out," Hines said.
"I got the Ohio State offer, and it was really big. I was real excited, but I'm not going to automatically go there. I'm going to weigh all my options. Michigan is also up there. I go to Ohio State on Jan. 12."