Hines Persevered to Play this Year

Freshman Omarius Hines has been a bright spot for the receiver corps at Florida so far in 2009. The Gators are looking to add some depth and Hines may be the one guy that wasn't expected to provide much this year, that has catapulted himself into a chance to do just that. This is surprising since he missed all of spring and some of fall drills with injury. His perseverance has paid off.

The Corsicana, Texas native came to Florida with a ton of talent. That talent was put on hold this spring when he had a thigh injury to both legs that kept him out of all the spring drills. Hines recovered and was ready for fall when he had a short relapse. Now it appears he is close to full health and he is making plays on the field.

"It feels real good right now, I'm still not 100 percent, but I am doing better with the treatment," Omarius Hines said. "It worried me a little bit, it started getting sore again, I did a little running too hard...It was a major thigh sprain...real, real tight. I just worked out too hard...It's all good now."

It was a scary experience in the beginning and he has learned to manage the injury to stay healthy enough to play.

"When I did it, I couldn't really (walk)," he said. "After I went to the doctor it took me a while to get it back together, but I got it together. I was on crutches for a day and a half.

"At first I just learned to push through the pain and after practice I just kept going to get treatment and more treatment. I just have to fight through it."

The worst thing may have been not being able to get on the field and play.

"It was really hard," he said. "I hated sitting and watching practice knowing I could help my teammates and make them better. I wanted to be out there and practice."

Watching Hines on the field of play for the first time it is easy to see he is one of the strongest and biggest receivers on the team. At 6-0 and 216 pounds, Hines is a load to bring down in the open field. He also has good balance and escape ability. He showed a lot of that Saturday against troy when he had three catches for 31 yards and made several defenders miss on tackles.

"I think I did pretty good," he said about the Troy game. " The first game I was pretty nervous so it felt good to get the jitters out. I felt I came a long way since the first game."

He talked about his strength and how much better he thinks he can be when he is completely healthy.

"I am probably the second strongest (receiver on the team)," he said. "Deonte Thompson has me by a couple of pounds. I don't know (how much better I can be) really, I will just go out there and give it all I can for 4-6 seconds."

Now, he gets to live out his dream and as his health improves that dream will be even better.

"I have liked Florida since I was eight years old," he said when asked why he came to play for the Gators all the way from Texas. "I watched Florida for a little bit and then quit watching football for a while. Then during recruiting season, my mom told me that when I was eight years old she asked me where I wanted to go to school and I told her 'I wanted to be a Florida Gator'. There are a lot of people that wanted me to stay close to home, but Florida is where I wanted to be so that's why I am here."

The Gators take on one of their main rivals Saturday in Tennessee. There is a lot of hoopla about the game, but Hines is one of many Gators that is insistent on remaining focused.

"We are worried about our team right now and focused on us," he said.

That doesn't take away anything from what it will be like in The Swamp on Saturday afternoon.

"It's going to be a big atmosphere," he said. "It's going to be my first rivalry game in college football. I know how the coaches feel about it, so it's going to be a big game. They know it's a big game so we are going to prepare hard on Tuesday and Wednesday and we have to go all out."

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