- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Staff Writer
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Editor’s note: Each day between now and Florida’s Allstate Sugar Bowl date with Louisville, GatorNation will review the season for a key Gators player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at RB Omarius Hines.
18 carries, 148 yards, 2 TDs; 20 catches, 208 yards; 15.8 yard average on 5 kickoff returns
Role in 2012: Hines was moved to running back to provide depth at a position that had just one proven player entering the season (Mike Gillislee). The Gators used him as a utility player.
The good: The 6-foot-2, 223-pound Hines seemed to always come up with a big play. He had a 52-yard catch against Kentucky, a 39-yard catch against Texas A&M that set up UF’s go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, and a 36-yard touchdown run against Missouri. He averaged 8.2 yards per carry (second only to Solomon Patton’s 10.2 average) and 10.4 yards per reception. He also was a solid contributor on special teams.
The bad: Hines’ production warranted that he be a bigger part of the offense but for whatever reason that never happened. Despite touching the ball only 38 times, Hines was fourth on the team in total offense. He certainly could have made a bigger impact in the passing game, especially because the Gators had so few playmakers at receiver. It would have been more beneficial if Hines had been able to stay at one position in his career. He started as a receiver and was moved to tight end and running back.
Crystal ball: Don’t be surprised if Hines ends up sticking around in the NFL for several seasons. He’ll be impressive at workouts and teams will like his size, speed and his hands. He won’t get drafted, but if he can get to a training camp he might somehow find a way to stick around. Hines could find a role on special teams at first, but depending on the team he could end up earning some playing time on offense. He could be one of those players whose professional careers end up being better than their collegiate careers.