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Wednesday September 5, 2012For Omarius Hines, Team and Family are One and the Same

Gainesville, Fla.

By John Thomas, UF Communications


College football can be characterized by a variety of terms sprinkled throughout the dictionary. Asking any casual fan of the sport to describe college football in one word, some might say: ‘exciting,’ ‘tradition’ or even in special cases, ‘religion.’ However, there’s one word that typifies the game in a way that sometimes can be forgotten: ‘team.’


For the 2012 Florida Gators’ football squad, the word ‘team’ has taken on an entirely new meaning. For every player, underclassman, veteran, rookie or transfer, each individual is a part of the team. It has been something preached by head coach Will Muschamp since his arrival in Gainesville and it is something that senior tight end Omarius Hines has taken to heart.


“That’s the one thing I’m going to miss about playing here,” Hines said. “All of those guys in that locker room are my brothers. I came all the way from Texas not knowing anybody and I’ve built friendships and a brotherhood with each of the guys on the team, so it’s going to be hard to leave that.”


“This team is a family. Of all the teams I’ve been a part of, we’re together as one. We don’t have anyone worrying about themselves, they are worried about each other and the team.”


Of course, some friendships are closer than others, as Hines has forged a special bond with senior wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr. Both players came to Gainesville in 2008 and have worked their way up the Gator depth chart to become key components within Florida’s offense. Hines said that he and Hammond have basically grown to become “family” over the past four years and it’s a friendship he will undoubtedly cherish for years to come.


“I look up to Frankie (Hammond),” Hines acknowledged. “He’s a hard worker and a very cool guy to be with. I can talk to him about anything and he’s always there when I need him.”


Although Hines has been a staple of the Orange and Blue’s roster for the last four seasons, he acknowledges that it wasn’t that tough of a decision for him to attend the University of Florida, even if he was coming from a state as far away as Texas. Being recruited by a number of schools within the Lone Star State didn’t deter Hines from the school which had been his top choice since his youth.


“My mom always tells the story of when I was five-years-old and she asked me where I was going to college and I told her that I wanted to be a Florida Gator,” he remembered fondly. “Of course, I don’t remember that, but she does. However, at the end of the recruiting process, Florida came down and gave me an offer and I didn’t think twice about it. It was a no-brainer.”


Since Hines didn’t see any playing time during his first fall on campus, when the Gators claimed their second national championship in three years, he earned a redshirt and started making his mark during his second year as a student at UF. The Corsicana, Texas, native saw extended playing time at the tight end position in 2009, finishing sixth on the team in receptions (14) and receiving yards (172). While seeing game action after a year of redshirting would be memorable enough for most players, Hines’ first touchdown catch, a 20-yard scoring toss from John Brantley against FIU, has stayed with him to this day.


“I was almost shaken up,” Hines admitted. “I didn’t know what to do and was stuck, not knowing how to celebrate. It was such an adrenaline rush with chills going through my body and the people in The Swamp going nuts.”


Now that Hines is a senior and he has earned more playing time, his team-first attitude is still there. For him, having that camaraderie is something that will enable his final year to stand out from the others. It’s not only an honor to be a member of a team with that kind of attitude, but also to be a senior in a leadership position.


“Being an older guy and knowing how things go and being a part of a Championship team, it plays a big role,” Hines said. “I want the younger guys to come to me and ask questions and figure out what it takes to be a championship football team because I’ve been around and I know how it’s done.”


“I tell guys all of the time that there is nothing like the SEC. Guys come here and think that they’re going to be all-stars the first time they step on the field, it’s not going to happen. They have to put in the work and have to be willing to learn every day.”


Beginning his final season as a student-athlete and on track to graduate in December with a degree in anthropology, Hines is looking forward to every moment that the 2012 campaign will bring and continuing to add to a vast collection of memories at Florida. He hopes that the way he has approached the game, respected his teammates and coaches and helped bring forward that team-first attitude is something he will be remembered for in the years to come.


“I want to be remembered as a leader and someone that my teammates could come to and talk about anything, like a best friend, a leader or a brother,” Hines reflected. “It takes a lot of hard work to be involved in something like this, so I like to think I can help others take on that same attitude – the same team-first attitude we’ve been talking about since our first day here.”


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