Size does matter.
If you wanted to point to a single trait missing from the LSU roster over the past several years it’s beef. Not exclusively, of course. But on the whole, LSU trended toward leaner, more athletic types over bulkier powerful ones. It served them well as spread offenses took hold across the nation. While other teams scrambled to adapt, LSU simply shifted different athletes into different roles and voila: problem solved. 2011 is the ideal example. That Oregon offense ran roughshod over everyone else in the country and LSU simply chewed them up and spit them out.
But just as the game evolved then, it continues to evolve today and in recent years, LSU’s lack of power became evident against its biggest rivals. Orgeron set about to repair that and Chasen Hines is part of that picture.
Recruits that stand over six feet tall and weigh north of 350 pounds will always draw eyeballs. Passing the eyeball test isn’t everything, but you can’t ever pass an eyeball test if you can’t draw any eyeballs. Chasen Hines checked the boxes as burgeoning junior prospect when Baylor, TCU, Texas, A&M Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State and more came calling. By the end of January LSU too came through, with their official scholarship offer, targeting Hines as an OL recruit.
More offers piled up, but a single visit, in March, to Baton Rouge for an LSU scrimmage sealed the deal for Hines, who grew up cheering for Glenn Dorsey and LSU. Reared just 30 miles from the Louisiana border, Hines fell safely into that “it’s basically West Louisiana” territory. The draw made sense and the visit proved too much to turn down.
The recruiting pressure continued, but Hines remained faithful. He showed up for an Under Armour camp and walked away with the offensive line challenge award, winning reps against elite competition and flashing his athleticism. 247 Horns writer named Hines to his 2017 All-Camp team, alongside fellow LSU commit, five-star Kardell Thomas.
In September, the Texas staff circled back on Hines, dialing up the pressure. They pushed for a visit. For months, Texas writers penned pieces about Hines being a top priority and a potential flip candidate for the Texas staff. Finally, in September, the Texas staff offered Hines with the chance to play defense this time. Clearly, all hands on deck to try and swing the massive prospect.
Rumors began to percolate leading up to an announcement. Many speculated Hines may flip his commitment to the Horns, ending his relationship with LSU. Crystal ball momentum swung totally to Texas. Then, via Twitter, Hines re-affirmed his commitment to LSU and intention to switch positions to defensive line.
That Texas visit never materialized. Hines visited LSU in December and signed his papers five days later.
110 - 101 = Franchise Player. One of the best players to come along in years, if not decades. Odds of having a player in this category every year is slim. This prospect has “can’t miss” talent.
100 - 98 = Five-star prospect. One of the top 30 players in the nation. This player has excellent pro-potential and should emerge as one of the best in the country before the end of his career. There will be 32 prospects ranked in this range in every football class to mirror the first round of the NFL Draft.
97 - 90 = Four-star prospect. One of the top 300 players in the nation. This prospect will be an impact-player for his college team. He is an All-American candidate who is projected to play professionally.
89 - 80 = Three-star prospect. One of the top 10% players in the nation. This player will develop into a reliable starter for his college team and is among the best players in his region of the country. Many three-stars have significant pro potential.
79 - below = Two-star prospect. This player makes up the bulk of Division I rosters. He may have little pro-potential, but is likely to become a role player for his respective school.
247 Composite Ranking: ****
247 Composite Rating: .9105
Hines ranks on the low end of the four-star spectrum but I’d suggest he’s a tad under-ranked. Texas writers raved about Hines all throughout the summer and he’s got the type of size any program would covet.
Now about that size, LSU lists him at 6-foot-3 and 347 pounds. That’s not quite Tyler Shelvin gargantuan levels, but it’s definitely something to keep tabs on, as it is with every supersized prospect.
Selected to the Offense-Defense bowl, Hines never seemed to live up to the promise he showed at Under Armour camps the summer before his senior season, but there’s no question the capability is there.
The size will always stand up. Hines is every bit of the 330+ he’s commonly listed at. That is a big, thickly built prospect. But the thing to see here is that he is no slug. Some guys carry extra weight well and while I’m sure the staff would prefer he didn’t push 350 bills, there’s no reason to think he can’t run around at 330.
Hines isn’t the most explosive player on planet earth. I don’t see a guy that will explode out of his stance and overwhelm offensive linemen. That’s a feature, not a bug. That said, once you get the big guy moving, he’s a big ole choo choo. He’s surprisingly light on his feet whether hunting ball carriers on defense or getting to the second level trying to pick off defenders on offense.
The power, well it’s expected. He can chuck about defenders with ease. It’s impressive to see him drop into pass pro, consume an oncoming rusher and deposit them squarely on their backs with a violent punch. He knows how to use that mass.
LSU needs players like Hines to re-ascend to the top of the SEC. Hines is a versatile and interesting piece that could wind up either at Nose Tackle or on the interior of the offensive line. He seems married to the idea of playing defense, essentially forcing programs to offer him as such, but I think his real future is on the OL. He could prove me wrong, but a few practices along side the monsters LSU features and Hines can probably put two and two together with the route to quicker playing time.
I love Hines as a guard. He reminds me a lot of Trai Turner, albeit not quite as explosive. Turner was similarly thick and squatty. He similarly could really move for someone 330 pounds and also just featured a naturally strong punch. Turner quickly ascended into the LSU starting lineup and left, albeit surprisingly, after three seasons. He’s now an NFL Pro Bowl type of Guard. I think Hines has that in him.
There’s two pieces I’ll always caution on naturally big, strong dudes: work ethic and discipline. If Hines thinks he can show up and bully college-level athletes, he’ll get humbled quickly. If he doesn’t keep his diet in check, he’ll eat himself out of playing time. It’s happened to guys with even more talent than him. Keep those things in check and he’ll be just fine.
High End: All-SEC OL.
Low End: Transfer out after failing to crack the depth chart.
Realistic: Multi-year starter on the OL.