When LSU head football coach Ed Orgeron was hired to be the Tigers’ full-time coach exactly one year ago, he said LSU needed some beef.
“We have to get better and bigger on our offensive and defensive lines,” Orgeron said.
A current LSU commitment serves to make that wish a reality in a big, big way. LSU fans got a dose of great news in March when four-star Texas standout Chansen Hines announced that he’d committed to the Tigers over a laundry list of offers, including prominent schools like Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, TCU and Texas A&M, among others. With Hines’ commitment also came breaking news—he’d change positions at the collegiate level.
Hines is an offensive guard for Marshall High School at the prep level, but will switch to defensive tackle in college, giving LSU one of the biggest bodies available in the Class of 2018.
Hines stands 6-foot, 2-inches and weighs 335 pounds. By the time he gets into a college weight program, he will likely fi ll out his body and become an absolute monster on the fi eld.
“He’s a big, big kid. The numbers will tell you that,” Marshall coach Claude Mathis said. “But what the numbers don’t tell you is how athletic the kid is with his big body and the work ethic he brings. He is a powerful player and we think he’s going to translate into a big-time player at the next level.”
It will all be happening at a position Hines hasn’t played much of.
With Marshall, he’s an interior offensive lineman – one of the most powerful players in the entire state of Texas, which is known for its high school football prowess.
Flip on the highlight tape and it’s almost video game-like stuff —clips of Hines pushing defenders back 10, 15 or even 20 yards on respective plays. On some plays, he isn’t pushing defenders at all – instead he’s just plowing through them with pancake after pancake to spark big plays for Marshall’s offense.
Those clips put Hines on several recruiting boards early in his prep career—aided by strong performances at camps around the country. LSU offered Hines early and he committed this past spring. At the time of his commitment, he said he chose the Tigers because Orgeron and the LSU coaches made him feel at home.
He was initially considered a member of the team’s offensive lineman crop for the Class of 2018, but on Twitter in October, he said that conversations with Orgeron prompted a mutual agreement that a position change would be in order.
“First off , I would like to thank God for putting me into this position I am in today,” Hines said on his social media account. “After thinking about my future and my career and talking to Coach Orgeron, I will be switching my position to a defensive lineman.”
In that same Twitter post, he also said that he was not de-committing from LSU, which had been speculated heavily in the past several months.
Since committing to LSU, Hines has continued to collect scholarship offers from other schools, including from the University of Texas, which is the top football school in his home state.
Hines said he’s shut down communication with a lot of other schools, but not with Texas, which prompted speculation that maybe the Longhorns were gaining ground on LSU in the chase for the massive lineman’s services. But every time speculation builds, Hines shoots it down. On social media, he said the Tigers’ football team is his home and his new family.
He took an official visit to Texas in early November, which promoted a firestorm of questions from fans of both teams. But while on the visit, Hines posted multiple pro-LSU visits, then capped the visit by saying that he was still committed to LSU and would remain committed through signing day.
Sure, a lot can change before it’s time to sign on the dotted line, but for now, at least, it looks like the Tigers are getting a beast in their locker room next season—another in the long line of Texans that commit to and play for LSU.
Mathis said if that happens, the Tigers are going to be getting a guy ready to play from the first day he steps on campus.
“He’s tough, physical and smart,” Mathis said. “He won’t need much time to get rolling. I think he’s going to be able to go into a program and make an impact right away in special situations. He is one of those rare players that only a few coaches get blessed enough to have that can play at any level and in any situation.”
Image: Gavin Michelli